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A Tennessee man is facing DUI charges after crashing his SUV on the afternoon of March 23 while allegedly impaired by a prescription sedative. The 41-year-old Montgomery County resident’s bond has been set at $100,000. A records check reveals that he has been previously been charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs three times, but he was only convicted on one of those occasions. That was in March 2015.

Minor accident sets off chain of events

According to a police report, the man lost control of his vehicle when he passed out while behind the wheel on Peachers Mill Road in Clarksville at approximately 12:25 p.m. First responders from Clarksville Fire rescue say that they found the SUV in a ditch at the side of the road with its driver unconscious when they arrived at the accident scene. They revived the man using the opioid antagonist naloxone, which is more commonly known by the brand name NARCAN. Paramedics noticed no obvious injuries on the man, but he was transported to an area hospital for further evaluation.

Drugs found during plain view search

The SUV sustained no damage in the accident, and a tow truck was called in to pull it from the ditch. This is when police decided to perform a plain view search of the SUV. During this search, officers claim to have found a prescription bottle in the center console that contained 53 Alprazolam pills. The label on the bottle allegedly revealed that a physician had written a prescription for 90 pills three days earlier. Alprazolam is a benzodiazepine sedative that is used to treat panic disorders and anxiety.

Mitigating penalties in DUI cases

You could face severe penalties for getting behind the wheel while impaired by drugs or alcohol in Tennessee, but an experienced criminal defense attorney may seek to reduce them during plea negotiations by bringing mitigating factors to the attention of the prosecutor involved. When presented with a set of facts like this in a DUI case, attorneys could argue that leniency is warranted because the defendant caused no injuries or property damage, were prescribed the drugs involved by a licensed physician and only crashed because they suffered a medical emergency.