Bernie Kosar, former Cleveland Browns quarterback, was arrested for suspicion of DUI early Sunday morning. Kosar was pulled over by Solon police in Ohio. He was stopped for speeding. The officer noticed a strong odor of alcohol and asked Kosar to perform roadside tests before arresting him.
The former star quarterback has previously admitted to having substance abuse problems. Kosar has acknowledged an alcohol and prescription medication problem, but had indicated these problems were in the past. Following a successful NFL career, Kosar had some personal problems, including a messy divorce and financial troubles.
It is unclear from the reports whether prescription medications contributed to Kosar’s impairment. While prescription drugs are legal to possess and consume, it is nonetheless illegal to consume prescription drugs if those drugs impair your ability to drive. Often times, mixing alcohol and prescription drugs can exacerbate or worsen the effects of the drugs, impairing your ability to safely drive. In these cases, the blood alcohol level may be below the legal limit, but the combination of drugs and alcohol created the impairment.
That said, it is always the prosecution’s burden to prove impairment beyond a reasonable doubt. Unlike a pure alcohol case, there is no per se limit for drugs, meaning even if a blood test is completed and comes back positive for drugs in the system, there is no specific amount that requires a jury to find you guilty. In pure alcohol cases, if your BAC is a 0.08 or greater, you are per se DUI, meaning the jury is required to find you guilty of DUI so long as the jury believes you were driving while your BAC exceeded the legal limit. The best DUI attorneys will tell you that DUI drug cases tend to be more difficult for the prosecution to prove for this reason. Good DUI attorneys will also tell you that DUI drug cases, even if the drug is a prescription medication, have the same possible penalties and consequences as an alcohol related DUI, so if you get charged with a DUI drug charge, it is important to treat it just as seriously as an DUI alcohol charge.
Source: Bleacher Report, Alex Kay, Sept. 29, 2013