Can you get a DUI from using prescription drugs?

Prescription drug use is very common, especially among seniors who often take multiple medications. They can cause side effects that are similar to intoxication. Whether you regularly or periodically use prescription drugs, operating a motor vehicle while impaired on prescription drugs can lead to DUI charges.

DUI charges do not just involve alcohol; they cover any legal or illegal substance that impairs one’s mental and physical behaviors. Side effects are pretty common and are often unavoidable when taking prescription meds. If you find yourself facing a DUI prescription drug charge, review the following information to better understand the steps you can take to improve the outcome.

A legal prescription is not a pass

Having a legal prescription is not enough to avoid a DUI charge. If an officer pulls you over because they suspect you are operating your vehicle while under the influence, they can detain you if they have probable cause. They can inquire about what substances you are on. Even if you provide a copy of the prescription that is interfering with your ability to operate your vehicle safely and responsibly, you could end up with a DUI arrest.

Chemical testing is often necessary

It is not always easy to identify motorists who are impaired from drugs, alcohol or both. Law enforcement may request a blood sample to determine the type and amount of medications that are in your system. They may also use other factors, such as whether there was property damage or injuries, your driving behavior and if you have any prior DUI arrests.

A DUI charge of any nature is not an automatic assumption of guilt. There are defense options that can protect your right to use prescription medications and drive responsibly and help you avoid a DUI conviction.