Prescription Drugs & Driving Under the Influence: What You Need to Know

White Pills Spilling Out of Prescription Bottle

People are often surprised that they can be arrested for driving under the influence of prescription drugs. They know that cocaine, methamphetamine, and heroin are illegal and can lead to a DUI, but this is also true of medications for which you have a doctor's prescription.

Another common belief is that a charge of driving under the influence can only be the result of driving after having consumed alcoholic beverages. Some people believe that you can be arrested on a DUI charge with alcohol or illegal drugs in your system. The truth is that you can also be arrested on a DUI charge if you are found to have ingested prescription drugs.

This means that all drugs can lead to an arrest on a DUI charge. They can be drugs that were prescribed by a physician, but they can also be drugs that you purchased over the counter. In one example, a motorist was shocked that he was arrested on a DUI charge. He believed that this could not happen because he had only taken a dose of NyQuil.

How Can This Be?

Prescription drugs can impair the person who takes them. They even come with warnings that state that the drug can make them tired and that they should exercise caution when they are operating heavy machinery. Anything that causes a driver to be impaired falls under the description of "under the influence."

Many prescription medications cause individuals to fall under the influence, and they include:

  • Cough medications
  • Antihistamines
  • Antidepressants
  • Sleeping aids
  • Pain medications
  • Tranquilizers
  • Decongestants

These medications cause side effects that include drowsiness, confusion, blurred vision, and dizziness. These side effects are very similar to those we experience when we have had too much to drink. It makes sense that you could be arrested on a DUI charge if you are suffering from the side effects of prescription drugs.

Prescription Drug Abuse

Just as people can abuse alcohol and illegal drugs, they can also abuse prescription drugs. When you take your prescription drugs as prescribed by your doctor, you can still be arrested on a DUI charge. Some people are abusing their prescription drugs, and they are even more likely to be arrested on a DUI charge.

These people may take more of the medication than has been prescribed, or they may take these drugs while they also ingest alcohol or marijuana. This can have the effect of impairing your ability to drive a vehicle and should be implicitly avoided.

Contact Schillinger & Associates, PLLC. if you have been arrested for driving under the influence of prescription drugs. Our team can help today (518) 413-0889.