DUI & Prescription Drugs: What Are My Options?

When people hear that someone was arrested for a DUI, they automatically assume that this means that they were driving while they were drunk. Although this might be the most common cause of a DUI arrest, the actual term is driving under the influence, and it is not limited to alcohol. Many people are arrested for a DUI or a DWI each year because they were driving while they were under the influence of a narcotic or a prescription drug. Therefore, it is important for you to fully understand the impact that your medication can have on you before you get behind the wheel.

What if I have a Legal Prescription?

Many people assume that having a prescription makes it okay to operate a vehicle after taking medication. Unfortunately, your prescription is not going to offer you any legal protection if you are arrested for a DUI. The most important thing to know about any prescription drugs that you are taking is whether or not they cause drowsiness. In many cases, a medication that causes drowsiness can make a driver appear to be intoxicated. This problem can be exacerbated if you happen to mix two different medications together. For example, if you are taking a medication for your nerves that causes drowsiness and then you also take NyQuil for a cold, you are basically setting yourself up to be too tired to drive or speak in a coherent manner.

Can My Doctor Get My DUI Waived?

No matter what reason your doctor had for giving you a specific prescription, they will not be able to offer you any legal protection from a DUI conviction. In fact, your doctor and the pharmacy will be protected due to the warning label that is on your medication. As long as the label indicates that the medication can cause drowsiness or any type of altered behavior, you will most likely not be able to assign any legal responsibility for your issue to anyone but yourself. This is why it is imperative to always read the warning labels on your medication and to take the proper steps to avoid mixing medications that could have an adverse reaction to each other.

What Actions Will Cause a DUI Arrest?

Simply being drowsy is not enough for an officer to arrest you, but some of the side effects that accompany drowsiness will be. For example, if you are pulled over while driving in Orlando, Florida and your speech is slurred, you are definitely going to deal with legal issues. Other things that an officer will look for include delayed reactions, bloodshot eyes and the inability to pass a field sobriety test. It is also important to note that some medications can cause you to fail a breathalyzer test. However, even if you pass a breathalyzer test, you can still be arrested if you appear to be under the influence of something. If you find yourself in this situation, there are many Orlando DUI lawyers in the area.

In addition to prescription medication, some over the counter drugs can also cause you a lot of issues while driving. NyQuil is a prime example because it contains some alcohol, and it will cause you to become very drowsy. Taking any type of sleeping pill before you begin driving is also a very bad idea that could lead to an accident and even a DUI arrest.

Freelance author Anthony Joseph writes on many different legal subjects, and contributes this article toward raising DUI awareness. The Orlando DUI lawyers at the law firm of Katz & Phillips know the drunk driving laws better than anyone. If you’ve recently received a DUI charge, contact one of their attorneys for a consultation regarding your case.

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