Prescription Drug DUI
Driving under the influence not only refers to alcohol but also the use of drugs. And these drugs do not have to be illegal—they can be legally prescribed medications. Nationwide, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle while you under the influence of prescribed drugs because like illegal drugs, prescribed medications can also influence your ability to drive safely.
But unlike illegal drugs, prescription drugs may cause the amount of alcohol in your system to be enhanced. This can not only affect the way your body processes alcohol, it can also cause your blood alcohol content to appear much higher than it may actually be. That’s why it is imperative to hire a qualified DUI defense attorney if you have been arrested for DUI for prescription drug use!
Prescribed medications such as Xanax, Codeine and Percodan may even cause impairment that is greater than any illegal drug but many users are not aware of this shocking fact. Because of this, labels now feature warnings advising people not to operate heavy machinery or operate a motor vehicle.
The problem is that these warnings may be viewed as only health warnings and many people don’t realize that criminal charges can be brought against them. However, this is not a good defense to use in court. Judges take the use of prescription drugs very seriously in DUI cases and will claim that ignorance of the law is no excuse. That’s why so many citizens are unsuccessful when they represent themselves and do not seek the help of an experienced DUI defense attorney!
There have even been instances where a defendant has claimed that using prescription drugs is safer than illegal drugs. Again, a judge won’t view this as a solid defense because the result is still the same: a person can be injured or killed due to an impaired person operating a motor vehicle. It doesn’t matter what the drug of choice is; if it causes impairment, it’s illegal to use while operating a motor vehicle.
So while it may have been completely unintentional, the laws for prescription drug use are serious. Make sure you speak with an attorney in your area!