DUI/DWI (driving under the influence/driving while impaired) can also be used to refer to driving under the influence of either illegal or prescription drugs. In fact, it can be used to refer to a driver who is impaired in any way (under the influence) by prescription or illegal drugs.
The individual who drives a car after using psychoactive drugs is an issue of continuing concern to authorities. It is a problem of ongoing concern to forensics toxicologists, law enforcement officers, traffic safety professionals, attorneys and physicians. Some of the problems that these professionals are concerned about are the ways to identify the drug impaired driver on the road, the documentation and evaluation of the impairment displayed by the driver, the accessibility of appropriate chemical tests, and the interpretation of the subsequent results.
Someone may ask, “are prescription drugs as potentially perilous as drunk driving? Do drugs or medications really affect a driver?”
The main concern in respect to intoxicated driving is the impact that drugs or medications will have on you as a driver. Driving under the influence of any medications that acts on your brain can reduce your motor skills, judgment and reaction time. Driving under the influence of medications is a public concern because it puts not only you, the driver in danger, but also your passengers and other individuals who share the road.
The prescription medications and drugs that act on your brain can change your balance, coordination, reaction time, attention, perception, cognition and other faculties that are required for safe driving. The effects of specific medications vary depending on the amount consumed, the history of the user, their mechanism of action and other factors.
You may not have realized that a drunk under the influence can be issued and a DUI arrest made for prescription drugs. Most individuals think that a DUI can only be issued when the police officer believes that you have taken illegal drugs or consumed alcohol in excess of the legal limits. Any substance, including prescription medication, which can make you incapable of safely driving a car, can be the reason for you facing a DUI arrest as well as DUI charges.
Unfortunately, it is at times very hard to tell how prescription drugs or medications affect your mental abilities until after you have already gotten behind the wheel. For instance, you may have lately had surgery and are still taking some painkillers, but wrongly think that you are ready to drive. Whatever the case, it can be very stressful to face a DUI arrest when you were unaware that you were doing anything wrong to begin with.
Facing DUI charges is a serious matter. Even if it’s your first DUI arrest, you may face a time in jail as well as a long driver’s license suspension. Other DUI consequences and penalties that you may face for the first time include community service and compulsory attendance at DUI School (drug and alcohol classes).
There are some ways to defend your DUI for prescription medication, but you will have to be proactive in establishing your claims and collecting evidence.
The first way to defend yourself against a DUI for prescription drugs or medication is to say that you were not affected in any way by the prescription drugs or medications as the police officer says you were. For instance, a police officer may have seen a pill bottle in your car cup holder. This may have led him/her to jump to conclusion that you were not able to drive safely at all. What’s more, roadside sobriety tests are usually inaccurate, particularly those that do not need breathalyzer or blood samples.
Proclaiming your innocence is the second way to defend yourself against a DUI for prescription drugs or medications. In order to use this defense you will have to be able to prove that the prescribed medications did not affect you in any way at all. You will be required to bring a copy of the side-effects of your prescribed medicines to court to prove to the Judge that they do not include possible mental impairment. You will also be required to mention the time at which you took your medication. You couldn’t have been driving under the influence if the effects should have already worn off.
A DUI defense for prescription drugs or medications is not a matter that you can handle by yourself. You need the help of an experienced DUI attorney who knows DUI laws and can give you the best possible DUI for prescription medication defense.