How to Fight a DUI Charge for Prescription Drugs
When people think DUI, they think alcohol. What many people do not often consider is that drugs impair a person just as much as alcohol and can also result in a person getting a DUI charge.
- We want you to know that you can be charged with DUI even if you are on prescription
Prescription medications, particularly narcotics, are powerful and can alter a person’s sense of time, motion, space, and reality. Nobody should drive if they are taking a prescription drug that can cause these adverse effects. This creates a dangerous situation for other vehicle passengers and pedestrians in and around the roadway.
If an officer pulls you over for reasonable suspicion of impaired driving, they will treat the case just like any other DUI situation. You may be asked to submit to a breathalyzer to rule out alcohol usage. However, passing a breathalyzer does not mean you cannot be charged. On the contrary, Arizona law enforcement officers are trained to detect drug impairment and can still arrest you if they suspect you are under the influence. You can still be asked to submit to field sobriety tests.
After an arrest, you can be compelled to submit to a blood or urine test to measure your system for narcotics. Many prescription medications will show up on a drug test while others will not. However, just because a drug test shows no signs of intoxication does not mean other evidence gathered cannot be used against you.
Prescription Drug Considerations
There are many reasons a person could be prescribed a prescription medication that can impair driving. Often, these are narcotics and come with warnings about driving while using the drug.
Consider the following medications, all of which urge users to use caution when driving or avoid driving and operating heavy machinery altogether:
- Other opioids
Some of the common brand names of these drugs include Vicodin, Oxycontin, Klonopin, Lorcet, Percocet, Oxycodone, Demerol, Dilaudid, etc.
Please note that there are many non-narcotic prescription medications that also come with driving warnings. These should also be heeded. Also, almost all prescription drugs have adverse effects when combined with alcohol, including further deterioration of a person’s ability to drive. These can include medications used to treat depression, manic depressive disorder, schizophrenia, insomnia, anxiety, and more.
Over The Counter Meds
What many people fail to realize is that over-the-counter medications can produce some of the same powerful effects that prescription medications do. Think about some of the following common medications:
- Motion sickness medications
- Sleeping medications
- Melatonin (a naturally occurring substance)
Those are just a few of the medications you can buy without a prescription that can cause drowsiness or impaired driving. Always read the dosages and instructions carefully before taking a medication and know whether or not it will be safe for you to drive. It is always best to not take chances with your safety and the safety of others on the roadway.
The Next Steps To Take
If you have been arrested for DUI after using a prescription or over-the-counter medication, do not panic. The first thing you need to do is secure an Arizona DUI defense attorney who understands all aspects of the law, particularly regarding driving with drugs in your system.
You need to sit with an attorney to discuss every aspect of your case so you can chart a path forward. The goal is to get the charges dismissed or reduced. This can happen to anyone. Think about how many people across all age ranges are prescribed medications or take OTC meds each day.
Click here for information on typical bail for DUI in Arizona.