Shortly after the sleeping pill Ambien (Zolpidem) came on to the market, there were reports of the drug causing strange incidents of sleep walking. In some extreme cases, the drug was causing a phenomenon called “sleep driving.” “Sleep driving” is recognized by the Food and Drug Administration and is defined as “driving while not fully awake after ingestion of a sedative-hypnotic product, with no memory of the event.” This is the description many DUI lawyers hear when they have clients describe waking up in jail with no memory of the night prior. On March 14, 2007, the FDA warned that Ambien and other similar drugs can cause “complex sleep-related behaviors which may include sleep-driving, making phone calls, and preparing and eating food (while asleep).” Despite this action by FDA, courts are generally not-receptive to claims by defendants that they drove “unconsciously” or that they did not “intend” to commit DUI. In fact, in the 2010 case of Myers v. State, a court of appeals in Georgia said that it was appropriate for a judge to specifically instruct a jury that it is not a defense that a defendant was unconscious or didn’t intend to drive drunk while under the influence of Ambien. Last year a court of appeals in People v. Mathson in California stated that Ambien ingestion would not be defense to DUI, at least if the drug were taken voluntarily. The court seemed to leave open the idea that the defense would still be possible in instances when the person did not voluntarily take the drug, for example, when it was slipped in their drink. The subject of Ambien DUI has not be directly addressed in Washington courts. However, Washington DUI lawyers have taken note of the case State v. Deer in 2010 where the court held that such a black out would be a defense to other crimes. The subject of Ambien DUIs in the news have been increasingly common. New York DWI lawyer Eric Sachs wrote about the arrest of Kerry Kennedy in his blog recently. Kerry Kennedy is the daughter of Robert Kennedy and was also married to the former New York Governor.