We commonly think that a DUI or DWI charge involves alcohol or illegal drugs. However, if a driver becomes intoxicated by their prescription medication and decides to drive, they, too are subject to DUI charges.
Becoming All Too Common
A report administered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that twenty percent of all drivers are on a drug when they are driving. Some prescription drugs come with a warning against operating heavy machinery or driving while on the drug, and you may be subject to a DUI if it severely impairs your ability to drive.
Validity of the Drug Prescription
The validity of your prescription will not save you from a drugged driving charge. It all depends on the impairment that the drug causes you. You should be made aware of the side effects of your medication and whether you are able to drive on it or not. Doing so while knowing you shouldn’t is negligent.
Status of Controlled Substance
States have a list of drugs that you must have a prescription for in order to gain access to them; these are called “controlled substances”. Having a drug that is considered a controlled substance in your system while driving is drugged driving.
Most controlled substances do not have a legal limit, like alcohol does. There is no test to actually determine drugged driving. The jury is responsible for deciding if the driver was too impaired to be operating a vehicle. Doctors or other medical professionals may be asked to come in to testify on the effects of the drugs.
Some Options if You Face a Charge of Drugged Driving
In any case, you should consult an experienced DUI lawyer trusts to discuss your legal options. Just because your medication is legal does not mean you will be excused in court. Hiring a lawyer will help you build a case based on the unique circumstances of your situation and will give you the best chance at a favorable outcome.
It is important to be open and honest with your lawyer so they are aware of all the details. That will allow them to customize the defense strategy to better suit your case. Call today for a free consultation. Having a lawyer by your side may be your best shot at a lesser sentence. Thankfully we are here to help protect you. Know your rights and protect them!
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Virginia Crime & Traffic Law Firm for their insight into DUI charges.