How Prescription Medications Can Lead to DUI Offenses

Most people know that it is against the law to drive while under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs. However, those same people may put themselves and others at risk by driving while on prescription medication. If you are on medication, it’s important to find out whether it’s safe to drive while on it. If you are arrested for DUI while on prescription drugs, you should contact a DUI lawyer immediately for assistance.

Drowsiness and DUI

Many prescription medications can cause drowsiness. Some medications may even state that people should not drive while on the medication. Whether or not this is true, it’s important that you be careful about driving while drowsy.

If you get into an accident or drive erratically and are pulled over, you may be arrested for DUI if you are drowsy due to being on prescription medication. DUI law varies from state to state and it is important to know which laws apply to you before driving whilst taking prescription medications, for example in Virginia, being under the influence of prescription drugs while driving is illegal. If you tell a police officer that you are on prescription medication or the officer otherwise suspects that your ability to drive is impaired, you can be arrested for DUI.

Drinking While On Medication

Some prescription medications amplify the effects of alcohol. Drug interactions with alcohol can cause you to be more impaired than you ordinarily would be. Thus, if you normally can drink one or two beers and be okay to drive, you might still get a DUI if you drink that much while on medication. You may need to contact an attorney in your state.

Defenses Against DUI on Medication

It should be easier for your attorney to defend you against DUI if your DUI was based solely on use of prescription medication. When you are arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol, it’s based on how much alcohol is in your blood. However, Virginia, like most other states, doesn’t have a similar standard for driving under the influence of prescription medication. The arrest is based solely on whether you appeared impaired to the officer and proving DUI of prescription drugs can be difficult. In order to avoid self-incrimination, don’t tell the officer that you are on prescription medication when stopped and don’t answer any questions about it outside the presence of your attorney.

You may be tested to see if there is any prescription medication in your system and arrested on that basis. If so, your attorney usually can use a “reasonable doubt” defense that suggests that the mere presence of a prescription drug does not prove that you were too impaired to drive.

It’s important to be careful when on prescription drugs. Ask your pharmacist or your doctor if the drug will impair your ability to drive when you are first prescribed medication. You should also refrain from driving during the first few days of taking any new medication, as your body may need to adjust to it before you can drive safely.