Marketing ploy or real possibility? A short search of the internet shows that people all over the country are sleepwalking, driving, eating, dying, and even killing all without any memory of what they are doing. They are “Ambien Zombies”, and they are real.
Ambien, or Zolpidem as it is also known, is a commonly prescribed sleep aid. It causes people to frequently sleep walk, sleep talk, eat while sleeping, and drive while sleeping. While it may be embarrassing to wake up with crumbs all over you, or have your spouse ask you about a conversation you had with them in the middle of the night, it is certainly not dangerous, or criminal. But driving while on Ambien may be both.
A growing number of people have been arrested for driving while under the influence of Ambien. Florida law states that a person may be convicted of driving under the influence if they are in actual physical control of a vehicle and have a breath or blood alcohol level above .08 or under the influence of any controlled substance listed in chapter 893, Florida Stautes. Zolpidem is not listed in chapter 893. So does that mean if you are arrested while taking Ambien you’re in the clear? Not so fast.
If an individual follows the doctor’s advice while taking Ambien, then that is certainly a defense that can be used. That along with other evidence (like a .000 reading on the Intoxilyzer) may be used to defeat a guilty conviction. However, if it can be proven that the individual did not follow the prescription, either by consuming alcohol or taking more than the prescribed dosage, then a prosecutor might get a guilty conviction on a DUI charge.
It is important to remember that laws are sometimes slow to adapt to the times. Science and culture are always ahead of the law. The science of sleep aid and the cultural acceptance of such medication have advanced to a place well ahead of the legal regulations concerning them. It is not inconceivable, and indeed expected, that at some point the legislature will take up this issue of sleeping medication.
The Reed Law Firm stands ready to aggressively defend those who are charged with driving while taking Ambien or any other charge for that matter. The Reed Law Firm hopes everyone will follow the label on their prescriptions and leave the zombies to Hollywood. After all, zombies aren’t real, right?