People usually associate DUI with alcohol, but the truth is that a lot of people are facing DUI-related charges for far less awful reasons.
Getting behind the wheel of a vehicle after taking certain prescribed medications can be a crime. Yes, the use of legal drugs can lead to a DUI arrest and conviction, and may warrant the same penalties as alcohol-related DUI.
However, this does not mean that the prsence of drugs is good enough to convict a person of DUI. With DUI Drugs there is no such thing as a per se limit lihe there is with alcohol. The science behind this is not developed yet. Police agencies will use DRE (Drug Recognition Experts) to make assesments for DUI arrest however, even the science behind DRE is shaky. It’s important to consult with an attorney who deal with DUI drugs. Not doing so can result in you getting a DUI with only the presence of drugs in your system which is false conviction.
To maintain road safety around the country, state governments are doing everything they can to prevent any form of intoxicated or impaired driving. This means that even if you are legally using drugs, such as those prescribed by a doctor or bought at a pharmacy, you can still be arrested for DUI if taking these drugs are found to have impaired your driving in any way.
Impairment DUI Charge
The term “under the influence” encompasses more than just alcohol and illegal substances; it also includes over-the-counter and prescription medication that can affect your driving. According to the NHTSA, impairment is “any state in which a driver behaves differently and less safely than they normally would.”
Common signs of impaired driving include:
- Extreme drowsiness
- Slower reaction time
- Reduced hand-eye coordination
If police officers have any reason to believe that a person is driving while in an impaired physical or mental state, they can subject the driver to a substance test or a field sobriety test. Failing any of these tests can result in a DUI arrest.
Prescription that Can Get You Arrested for a Drug DUI
There are many prescription medications that can affect your driving skills and impair your reflexes and judgement while behind the wheel. Taking these legal drugs before or while driving a vehicle may lead to a DUI arrest:
1. Sleeping Pills
Ambien and other sleeping pills like Lunesta, and Sonata are drugs used to treat insomnia and other sleeping disorders. These drugs slow down brain activity and calm the neurological system, causing the person to feel sleepy. They can also have negative after-effects and leave the person feeling drowsy and lethargic when they wake up.
For these reasons, you should not takesleeping pills before driving; nor should you get behind the wheel if you’re still feeling drowsy after waking up. It is this drug-induced sleepiness that can impair a person’s ability to drive and may result in a DUI.
Driving while under the influence of Vicodin is also illegal. Vicodin contains hydrocodone and opioid, which are some of the most powerful forms of painkillers. They have the ability to block pain signals and receptors in the brain and spinal cord.
Due to its potency, Vicodin (and other strong painkillers like Oxycodone, Percocen, and Roxiprin) can leave a person feeling dizzy, drowsy, and lightheaded; affecting their ability to drive properly.
3. ADHD Prescriptions
Adderall is a widely-used drug for ADHD, made by combining dextroamphetamine and amphetamine. It helps people with ADHD and other attention deficit disorders stay focused and attentive.
Adderall and similar medications (like Ritalin, Focalin, Vyvanse, and Adzenys) work by stimulating the central nervous system. However, its effects start to wane after a few hours and tends to leave the person feeling exhausted. It’s dangerous to take these drugs when driving, especially long distances, because sudden tiredness and loss of energy can impair your driving skills.
4. Anti-Anxiety Medications
People taking Xanax often get pulled over when driving because the medicine can make you feel drowsy. Xanax and other anti-anxiety drugs such as Valium, Doral, and Ativan contain benzodiazepines that make people feel calm and relaxed.
The thing is; taking anti-anxiety medication before getting behind the wheel can make you feel too calm and relaxed, and affect your ability to operate the vehicle safely. Some drivers even become too groggy to recognize threats and react to the situation appropriately.
5. Allergy Medications
Drugs like Clarinex, Allegra, and Claritin are potent treatments for allergies, but don’t use them before driving.
Antihistamines come with side effects, including drowsiness. If you take one and drive, you may start feeling tired and sleepy after a while, and not be able to keep your eyes on the road. Not only will this impair your ability to drive safely, it also puts other people’s lives at risk.
Dealing with A Prescription Drug DUI
All states have impairment DUIs, but may differ in criteria and level of impairment for a DUI charge. In some states, motorists found to have the slightest degree of intoxication can get charged, while in other states, a driver has to be appreciably or noticeably impaired to be convicted for DUI.
Regardless of the extent of a driver’s impairment, all states consider impairment as driving under the influence, whether it is induced by an illegal or legal substance.
If you’ve been charged with a DUI while under the influence of prescription medication or a legal drug, the best thing to do is to consult with a DUI attorney. An experienced DUI lawyer can help you understand how your state’s laws apply to your situation and help you find viable legal defenses for your case.
Is driving on Adderall illegal?
No. It is not illegal to drive on adderall. Just as it is not illegal to drive drinking coffee. The issue comes down to whether the drugs has impaired your ability to drive as a sober person.
Can you be considered DUI when taking prescription medication
Yes. You can be arrested and convicted of a DUI when taking prescription medication. Even if you are taking the presribed amount, you can still be arrested. The legal threshold is not what you were prescribed but whether or it affects your ability to drive.
Can you drive under prescription medication
Yes, it is not illegal to drive while taking prescription medication.