DUI And Prescription Drugs: Yes, It Is A Crime
When the average person thinks about drugs, cocaine, heroin, and other street drugs often come to mind. However, from both a scientific and legal standpoint, many prescription medications also fit the bill of being a drug. For this reason, some people are shocked to discover that they are being charged with driving under the influence (DUI) while under the influence of prescription medication. Learn more about how this charge can arise in this scenario, and how to approach it.
Prescription vs. Non-Prescription
One of the first measures that can impact your case is whether or not the drugs that you were using while operating the vehicle were prescribed to you or not. Legally, a prescribed drug is one for which you have a prescription, ordered by a physician specifically for you.
A prescribed drug is not a medication that you consumed that was prescribed to your parent, friend, or another family member. If the drug is not prescribed to you, it will be considered illegal usage.
Impairment and Usage Guidelines
You should also understand that there does not necessarily have to be a connection between the usage guidelines and your level of impairment. For example, some prescription narcotics list drowsiness as a side effect, and as a reason to not operate large machinery, such as a vehicle.
However, not everyone who takes the medication has this side effect. What matters most is what the usage guidelines say. Therefore, even if you do not feel like you were experiencing any of the response-reducing symptoms and you are caught operating a vehicle, if the drug stated that you should not operate a vehicle while taking the medication, you could still be in legal trouble.
Unfortunately, a DUI could just be the beginning of your problems. If you were arrested for DUI, it may only be the initial charge. If there were minors in the vehicle with you, if you caused any property damage, if you were in a school zone, or, if as mentioned earlier, you were using medication not prescribed to you, you could face additional charges.
The more charges, the greater your threat of jail time. It is a good idea to have an attorney review your situation so that you know if you should be prepared to face any additional charges related to the arrest.
If you have been charged with DUI for prescription drug use — remember that you can be found guilty. Speak with a DUI attorney as soon as possible to learn more about what you can do.