Can I get my first DUI charge dropped if my BAC was 0.18? 17 Answers as of February 24, 2012

I have no previous charges and am a Pre-med student. I've been taking ambien/zolpidem since the loss of my pregnancy and crazy hours schedule. I took it hours before I was pulled over for DUI. I was told to do a field test and denied to be breathalyzed. I consented to searching my car and after the officer found prescription adderall that I've taken since I was 12 yrs old, he told me that I needed to go to jail and do blood work. Nothing came back on my blood work except 0.18 of ambien. I've never gotten anything other than a traffic ticket and I'm really worried about this causing me to lose my license to drive, ability to further my education, and practice medicine. Can I get the charges dropped? I don't have thousands of dollars to pay for the offense nor a lawyer. Can someone please offer answers? My court date is Tuesday.

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Law Office of Tracey S. Sang
Law Office of Tracey S. Sang | Tracey Sang
Sounds like a good case. The Public Defender will know this so go with them if you can't afford an attorney. Charges are seldom dropped outright but it sounds like you have a good chance of getting a deal that you can live with. Good luck.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 5/25/2011
The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
Go to court. Ask for an attorney to be appointed. Most drugs, unlike alcohol, have not been "calibrated" . That is there is no testing that the state can rely on to show at what level of something is present are you under the influence.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 5/23/2011
Law Office of Thomas F. Mueller
Law Office of Thomas F. Mueller | Thomas Mueller
Taking Ambien does not result in a BAC of .18. If you indeed were at a .18 Blood/Alcohol level and had Ambien in your system it will be hard to get a reduction in your charge, let alone a dismissal. If you had not consumed alcohol we can probably save your license and may very well be able to wring some concessions out of the prosecutor. For more info or a fee quote call.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 5/23/2011
Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider
Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider | Peter Goldscheider
If you can't afford to hire an attorney, you should apply for the public defender. I can not advise you if your case can be dropped without having all the information particularly the police report. You can be charged and convicted on the police officer's opinion alone that you are under the influence of something as long as the jury believes it, so there is no easy answer to your question.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 5/23/2011
Harrison & Harrison
Harrison & Harrison | Samuel Harrison
1. You may have a very good defense in your case. 2. The state will NOT drop a case just to be nice or help you complete school. Their thinking begins with the idea that the officer is right and you are guilty. that means 3. You really need a good DUI lawyer if you are going to have any chance of avoiding a DUI conviction. You are completely focused on your future. You need to acknowledge that you need professional help now if you are going to have the future you are working for. In other words, this is NOT the time to be cheap. Hire a lawyer, and do it now.
Answer Applies to: Georgia
Replied: 5/20/2011
    Goolsby Law Office
    Goolsby Law Office | Richard Goolsby
    Ideally, you would retain an experienced criminal defense lawyer to represent you and see if the charge could be reduced, or if some other disposition might be appropriate. You will also be informed of the possibility of a public defender being appointed, if you qualify. No one can predict what could happen, but I recommend you talk with family and friends about hiring an attorney to help you and that you do so ASAP. Good luck to you!
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 5/20/2011
    Law Office of Geoffrey M. Yaryan
    Law Office of Geoffrey M. Yaryan | Geoffrey M. Yaryan
    If you had a BAC of .18 that means alcohol. BAC is blood alcohol level not drug level. Ask for the Public Defender.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/20/2011
    Law Office of Joseph A. Katz
    Law Office of Joseph A. Katz | Joseph A. Katz
    First of all, your BAC could not have been "0.18 of ambien". Blood alcohol does not include Ambien. A 'BAC', or 'blood alcohol content' of '0.18'means that the ratio of grams of alcohol per one-hundred milliliters (deciliter) ofblood in your system was 0.18% (0.18 gm/dL), which is over double the legal limit of 0.08%. Ambien (zolpidem) is a sedative used for the short-term treatment of insomnia. Ambien use can render you unable to remember your actions, and can definitely impair your physical reactions. There is no alcohol in Ambien. Pharmaceutical drugs are usually measured in nanograms (a billionth of a gram) per milliliter (one-thousandth of a liter). You should obviously at least try to obtain a free consultation with an experienced local Criminal Defense/DUI Attorney. Ask for the Public Defender to be appointed. Something is not adding up here.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/20/2011
    Law Office of Andrew Roberts
    Law Office of Andrew Roberts | Andrew Stephen Roberts
    Get a public defender to represent you. You need an attorney. You do not have to have alcohol to be convicted of a DUI. A prescription drug can impair your driving.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/20/2011
    Law Office of Michael Bialys THE DUI MAN
    Law Office of Michael Bialys THE DUI MAN | Michael Bialys
    Considering your career aspiration and high B.A.C it is really important that you hire private counsel. A .18 is over twice the legal limit.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/24/2012
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    Unfortunately a lawyer will be necessary if you want the chance of getting the charges dismissed. When prosecutors see you in court by yourself, they will likely offer you the standard DUI, no less and no more. A DUI specialist, on the other hand, may be able to push the case in the right direction and convince the prosecutor that the case isn't what it appears to be. The fact is, drug DUI's are hard to prosecute, because they usually don't involve a specific BAC like alcohol. 0.18 for ambien doesn't mean anything. Bottom line is, your best chance is to get a DUI lawyer who will personally represent you from start to finish and is patient and doesn't ask you for more and more money everytime he/she has to go to court, because a good representation will take at least several months. You don't want someone who will just take your money and plead you guilty at the first opportunity.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/20/2011
    Law Office of Joe Dane
    Law Office of Joe Dane | Joe Dane
    I'm assuming the 0.18 is NOT a blood alcohol level, but a level of ambien. Drug DUI cases are notoriously difficult for the prosecution to prove, but it depends on many factors. What was your driving? What was the basis for the stop? How was your performance on the field sobriety tests? Etc. If you cannot afford to hire an attorney, you are entitled to representation by the public defender's office. If the judge decides you financially qualify, they will appoint an attorney to represent you. You've got a lot on the line with your future career, schooling, etc. Just a suggestion - don't be short-sighted about this. The time to shoot for the best outcome is now, rather than deal with bad consequences later. Consult with a few local criminal defense attorneys to discuss the situation. During those consultations, you can also discuss fees and any payment arrangements.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/20/2011
    The Law Firm of Aaron Bortel Esq.
    The Law Firm of Aaron Bortel Esq. | Aaron Bortel
    You should call a DUI Lawyer who practices in the county of your arrest. They can usually give you a free consultation and assess your case after hearing everything that happened. No one can guarantee a win, but no alcohol in your system usually makes the case against you tougher on the DA. Make sure the attorney you consult with is a member of the California DUI Lawyers Association and the National College for DUI Defense. Too much on the line to not get a proper evaluation on the case.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/20/2011
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C.
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C. | Dennis Roberts
    Ambien or Adderall? If the medication did not impair your ability to drive (ie. you passed the field sobriety tests) you should be ok but if you are a med student you have no money so go to the Public Defender.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/20/2011
    Nelson & Lawless
    Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
    CAN the case end up being reduced or dropped? Of course. Is that likely, just because you want it? No. Is that likely, just because you were Under the Influence of something other than alcohol? No. The police and DA don't spend time and money arresting, charging and prosecuting cases only to drop them because you 'want' them to. That's not how the system works, obviously. IF there are valid defenses, facts, evidence, witnesses, sympathies, etc. that would allow an attorney to defend the Under the Influence charges and keep the prosecutor from proving the case as alleged, then, yes, the case could be won. Won through motions, won at trial, or won by negotiated plea or dismissal. You won't know until you consult with counsel with ALL the facts. Keep in mind a little free advice: When you are arrested for DUI, whether alcohol or drugs, then upon release from jail or booking you were given documents that included a notice that you have only ten days to file a request with DMV for a hearing on an appeal of an automatic one-year suspension of your license imposed by DMV. That is separate and runs consecutively with any suspension that may be imposed by the court. Contact DMV and do so, timely, then appear at your scheduled DMV hearing and present any supporting evidence and testimony. If you don't know how to do these things, then hire an attorney that does. If serious about hiring counsel to help you in this, and if this is in SoCal courts, feel free to contact me.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/20/2011
    Steven Mandell
    Steven Mandell | Law Offices of Steven Mandell
    You ask: "Can I get my first DUI charge dropped if my BAC was 0.18?" Then you say: "Nothing came back on my blood work except 0.18 of ambien." "BAC" stands for "blood alcohol concentration." If you had no alcohol, you have a 0.00% BAC. However, a DUI charge is driving under EITHER the influence of alcohol or drugs, or the combined influence of both. Now the question is: were you "under the influence" of ambien to the extent that you were unable to safely operate a motor vehicle? That is a much harder question to answer. You will need the services of a good lawyer (a public defender will be available if you are indigent) and the services of a forensic psychopharmacologist to opine on the effect that .18 (whatever units it was measured in) of ambien would have on a person's ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/20/2011
    Law Offices of Phil Hache
    Law Offices of Phil Hache | Phil Hache
    It is possible to get the DUI charges dismissed, potentially completely, or reduced to a lesser charge. BAC stands for "Blood *alcohol* content." Was there alcohol involved as well? or was it only the ambien that was found in the blood work? I have handled similar types of Prescription med DUI cases and have gotten good results. It is hard to give a specific analysis on your case without having the discovery (which is the evidence the prosecution intends to use to convict you). Further, how to handle these types of cases is more complex than I can give on an email answer such as this. I would recommend consulting with an attorney in your area further about your case. Many will offer a free consultation. If your case is in or around L.A. County, feel free to contact me.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/20/2011
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