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i am interested if anyone can shed some professional light on an
my wife and i went out for dinner a few weeks ago. over a 6 hour
period my wife ingested 2 glasses of chardonnay wine.she also takes
the prescription medication DITROPAN once a day at 5:30 a.m. in the 5
mg. tablet form.
to make a long story short at 12:30 a.m. we get pulled over by
the local authorities for having a headlamp out. they smell the wine
on her breath and now they think they have a DWI case. they arrest
her and take her to the station where they administer a breathalyzer
test. much to their surprise they test her twice and she registers 0.
04 and 0.02% blood alcohol levels. in new jersey 0.10 is the minimum
for being legally intoxicated with alcohol.
since they have no bust anymore because of the low blood alcohol
levels, they continue to question her after reading her her miranda
rights. they ask if she takes any prescription medication, and she
says yes, DITROPAN, figuring there is no correlation between
intoxication and taking a drug for bladder control.
they drive her home and apologize, and we think that's the end
of that. the next day we get a summons in the mail for DWI !!! when
we inquire as to how this can be when she passed the breathalyzer
test twice, the local small town prosecutor says " the combination of
the small amount of alcohol and the anticholinergic drug DITROPAN
caused an intoxicated state."
i found it hard to believe that 5 mg of a smooth muscle relaxer
taken 19 hours earlier could have any such effect. so i called marion
merrell dow , the maker of the drug. i spoke to a Bonnie Corrigan,RPh,
in their global product safety department. she said in the 20 years
that the drug has been on the market that there have been NO reports
of such reaction. she also said that the pharmicokinetics of the
drug are such that it has a 1/2 life of 2 hours. she said that as a
rule of thumb, after 5 1/2 lives, most drugs have negligible
our lawyer says that it is clear that she is innocent, but in a
small town court house the local judge is likely to place very strong
weight on the testimony of the arresting officers at the scene, and
may disregard the scientific evidence if we cannot produce an expert
on the topic. this would entail a lot of money ,and it may be better
to cop to a reduced plea. DWI carries a 6 month suspension of driving
privileges along with various points on the license. we were offered
a plea of careless driving which has a 30 day suspension, and no
from a monetary stand point it may make sense to take the plea ,
even though it is against everything we believe in.
does anyone out there have any ideas or are there any
professionals in this field who would be interested in serving as an
expert witness for a reasonable fee? this action will take place in
Luca Derrico e-mail
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Dr. Al Staubus at The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio has been an
expert witness on these type of cases. If he is not available or is too
expensive, please let me know.
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The National Highway and Transportation and Safety Agency has an office
which deals which such issues. This is the Office of Alcohol and State
Programs. You might look into speaking with your "friendly, neighborhood"
pharmacist. Hope this helps!!
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