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Arnold & Stafford Legal Blog

How to minimize the risk of an emergency room error

When you visit a hospital emergency room for treatment, you expect to receive nothing but the best care. While the staff can only do so much in a short period, there's never an excuse for any mistake.

Here are three of the most common errors that occur in emergency rooms:

  • Misdiagnosis: Many serious ailments are often overlooked in an emergency room setting, such as heart attack, stroke, aneurysm and cancer. If a major ailment is misdiagnosed, it can result in additional damage to your body and even death.
  • Ignoring symptoms: If your medical team doesn't take your symptoms seriously, this is a sign that you need to get an immediate second opinion.
  • Medication errors: Don't say yes to every medication the staff wants to give you. Ask questions to ensure you understand what the medication is for, how it works and whether you really need it.

Steps to take if you’re pulled over for suspicion of DUI

It doesn't matter if you have been drinking or don't have an ounce of alcohol in your system, you could find yourself pulled over for suspicion of DUI.

This is every bit as stressful as it sounds, as you understand that you could be arrested on the spot and taken to a local jail for processing.

Which drug possession defense strategy is best for you?

Being charged with possession of drugs can bring many challenges to your life. Most importantly, you must decide which defense strategy applies to your case. With this knowledge, you can formulate a plan that gives you the best chance of avoiding a conviction.

Here are three of the most common drug possession defense strategies:

  • Unlawful search and seizure: Search and seizure issues often move to the forefront of a drug possession case. Police must have reasonable cause to search for drugs. For example, an officer is not permitted to break into your trunk during a traffic stop. Instead, they must have reasonable cause, such as seeing an illegal drug on the seat.
  • The drugs didn't belong to you: This is as simple as stating that you don't know where the drugs came from. For example, if police find drugs in your home, you can argue that someone brought them in from the outside.
  • Entrapment: Law enforcement officials often take things too far when setting up a drug sting. This occurs when an officer induces a person to commit a crime they would not have committed on their own.

Is it possible to get your DUI charge dismissed?

If you're arrested for driving under the influence, you'll immediately turn your attention to the steps you can take to avoid the most serious consequences. In a perfect world, you'd take steps to get your DUI charge dismissed.

Here are some of the most common reasons for a DUI dismissal:

  • Invalid traffic stop: The officer must have reasonable suspicion that you committed a crime. This can include anything from speeding to changing lanes without signaling. However, if the officer pulled you over without reasonable suspicion, any evidence obtained may be impermissible in court.
  • Errors with field sobriety tests: Police officers typically use field sobriety tests to determine if a driver is impaired. These include: walk and turn test, horizontal gaze nystagmus and the one leg stand. Errors can include administering the test without proper instruction and conducting the test in a poorly lit area.
  • Inaccurate chemical test results: It doesn't matter if you took a breath, blood or urine test, you may be able to challenge the accuracy. A common defense strategy is contesting that the Breathalyzer was not properly maintained before use.
  • You weren't the person behind the wheel: This can't be used in all circumstances, but it often comes into play in a single vehicle accident where there are no witnesses who saw who was driving.

Mistakes to avoid at a DUI checkpoint

You're rolling down the road, minding your business when you look ahead and see flashing lights. You don't know what's happening at first, but soon come to realize you're heading straight for a DUI checkpoint.

At that point, your hands begin to sweat and you wonder if you're about to find yourself in trouble with the law. Even if you've only had one drink, you never know what an officer will come up with at a checkpoint.

Prescription DUI charges in Georgia

People who live a law-abiding lifestyle and would never consider getting behind the wheel after a single drink can be shocked to find themselves facing DUI charges. Many do not realize that taking a common, legally prescribed medication before driving can potentially bring the full range of DUI penalties.

According to Georgia law, one may not operate a vehicle after taking medication that makes your driving less safe than it would be without the medication. To get a conviction, a prosecutor should show beyond a reasonable doubt the driver took medication that adversely affected driving safety. This is true even if you did not know the medication would affect you this way.

Surgical and medical errors: Understand the risks you really face

Your doctor tells you, before you go in for surgery, that there are certain risks that go along with the procedure. You nod your head, thinking you understand. You've always been told that surgery is risky.

But do you really know the type of risks that you face? Many people do not. It's very important to understand the role that medical mistakes play in this situation and how they could put you in danger -- and potentially take your life.

How do police know if I'm driving under the influence of drugs?

While field sobriety tests can aid police in correctly determining if drivers are intoxicated from alcohol 90 percent of the time or more, these tests are only 30 percent successful in helping police identify who is behind the wheel while on a marijuana high. This may lead you to wonder how, then, police are able to identify drugged drivers.

Most Georgia police departments use drug recognition experts (DREs) to spot drivers under the influence of some kind of drug. These officers undergo specialized training to be able to spot telltale signs that a motorist is impaired through the use of either prescription medications or illicit drugs.

These common ailments are often misdiagnosed

If you begin to feel poorly, the very first thing you should think about is seeking medical attention. Even if you don't require it, it's better to be safe than sorry.

While you hope your doctor will correctly diagnose your condition and provide the right treatment, this doesn't always happen. It's possible a mistake could be made, which results in additional challenges.

A visit to the doctor can lead to drug charges and addiction

Many drug crimes are spurred by addiction; those who have never suffered from this disease tend to underestimate the impact that it has on a person's life. The sad part is that addiction can absolutely start with a trip to the doctor's office.

The issue is that narcotic painkillers, while effective, are very addictive. People can take them legally, with a prescription, but taking them for too long or taking doses that are too high can turn this legal, helpful use into a full-fledged addiction that they just cannot overcome on their own.

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