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Understanding the “Ambien Defense”

Mohammadi & Humayun, LLC Feb. 7, 2024

Male Driver Being Stopped By Female Traffic Police OfficerFacing a DUI charge can be an overwhelming experience, especially when Ambien is involved. It's completely understandable to feel anxious, confused, and unsure of what lies ahead. Fortunately, our team is here to guide you through each step, providing clarity and reassurance along the way.  

Our firm, with its team of seasoned attorneys, has been serving clients near Rockville, Maryland, for many years. Our team at Mohammadi & Humayun, LLC focuses on DUI defense strategies, including the increasingly recognized "Ambien Defense. " Our commitment is to provide personalized and effective legal representation, tailored to your unique circumstances.  

Unraveling the Ambien Defense 

The Ambien Defense is a unique and increasingly recognized strategy in DUI cases. It's centered on the premise that the defendant's impaired driving wasn't an intentional act but rather an unintended side effect of taking Ambien, a prescription sleep aid. But what does this mean for you, the defendant?  

Ambien, scientifically known as zolpidem, belongs to a class of medications called sedative-hypnotics. It's commonly prescribed to people dealing with insomnia or other sleep disorders. While it's generally safe when taken as directed, Ambien can have side effects. These include drowsiness, dizziness, and impaired coordination, which can potentially affect a person's ability to drive safely. Some users have even reported engaging in activities such as driving, eating, or making phone calls with no memory of the event afterward. This phenomenon, often referred to as "sleep-driving," forms the crux of the Ambien Defense. 

When we utilize the Ambien Defense, our objective is to gather robust evidence supporting the claim that your impaired driving was a direct result of the medication's side effects. This could involve collecting medical records, soliciting expert testimony about Ambien's potential side effects, or gathering witness statements about your behavior before and after taking the medication. 

Building a Solid Ambien Defense 

Presenting the Ambien Defense isn't as simple as stating you took the drug and experienced side effects. To successfully argue the Ambien Defense, you need to establish several key elements.

First and foremost, you must prove that you were prescribed Ambien and took it as directed. You also need to demonstrate that you experienced side effects from the drug that impaired your ability to drive safely.  

Next, prove that you were unaware of the extent of the impairment caused by Ambien.

Finally, demonstrate that you were unaware of the impairment caused by Ambien and that you did not voluntarily engage in any other activities that could have contributed to your impaired state.  

Challenges and Considerations in the Ambien Defense 

While the Ambien Defense can be a potentially compelling strategy, it's not without its challenges and considerations. Successfully arguing this defense requires a nuanced understanding of both the medical and legal landscapes. As experienced attorneys, we're well-versed in these areas and prepared to fight on your behalf. 

Here are some key considerations when contemplating the Ambien Defense: 

  • Proving Prescription and Proper Usage: The first hurdle involves proving that you were indeed prescribed Ambien and took it as directed by your healthcare provider. This will typically require comprehensive medical records and, possibly, testimony from your prescribing doctor. 

  • Demonstrating Unawareness of Effects: It's crucial to show that you were unaware of the extent of impairment caused by Ambien. This can be challenging, as the prosecution may argue that you should have been aware of the potential side effects. 

  • Excluding Other Impairing Substances: We must ensure that you didn't voluntarily consume any other substances that could have contributed to your impairment. This often means scrutinizing toxicology reports and potentially contesting their findings. 

  • Legal Complexities: Maryland DUI laws are intricate. For instance, even if you're impaired due to a legally prescribed medication like Ambien, you could still face DWI charges if the prosecutor can prove the drug impaired your driving to some degree. 

  • Potential Penalties: If convicted of DUI or DWI in Maryland, penalties can include jail time, fines, mandatory participation in alcohol abuse assessment programs, and installation of an ignition interlock device. These consequences underscore the importance of a robust defense. 

  • Constitutional Rights: If evidence was collected in violation of your rights, it can't be used against you in court—it will be suppressed. We will meticulously review the circumstances surrounding your arrest and evidence collection to ensure your rights were upheld. 

  • The Role of Trials: Going to trial doesn't necessarily mean you'll be convicted. We can cast doubt on the prosecutor's case or raise defenses to try to get acquitted. However, trials can be lengthy and stressful, which is a factor to consider. 

Why Seek Legal Representation 

If you believe the Ambien Defense applies to your DUI charges, seeking the assistance of a skilled and knowledgeable attorney is essential. Our team's deep understanding of DUI laws and defenses, including the Ambien Defense, equips us to protect your rights and strive for your best possible outcome.  

We are committed to providing the guidance and support you need during this challenging time. Contact our firm today to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced DUI defense attorneys.  

Understand Your Rights 

Facing a DUI charge is undoubtedly daunting, but you have options.Our team at Mohammadi & Humayun, LLC understands DUI law and the potential effectiveness of the Ambien Defense.

Our experienced attorneys are dedicated to providing personalized and effective legal representation to clients in Rockville, Montgomery County, Prince George's County, Howard County, and Fredrick County, Maryland. If you believe the Ambien Defense may apply to your case, don't hesitate to reach out. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and let us fight for your rights.