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Although most people associate a DUI with driving under the influence of alcohol, you can just as easily get slapped with a charge if you are pulled over and the officer suspects that you are driving while intoxicated by prescription drugs. If you are under a doctor's care and taking a prescription medication that is perfectly legal, it is definitely a good idea to get to know a few tidbits of helpful information so you can avoid a potential problem as a driver. Here are a few of the biggest questions and concerns about avoiding a DUI charge if you are taking prescription medication and the answers you should know.
What prescription drugs could possibly lead to a DUI charge?
Most medications that may not be safe to take while driving will be clearly labeled by the pharmacy that they may cause drowsiness or they you should not take while operating machinery. However, there is a general list of medications that you should definitely be careful with taking while you are driving, or even if you will be driving several hours after taking the medication in some cases.
Many of these drugs can cause symptoms that could make it difficult for you to drive or affect your perception while you drive, such as drowsiness, dizziness, slowed movement, or blurred vision.
How do you know if it is unsafe to drive while taking a certain medication?
Because there are no clear cut rules about what or how much medication you can safely take while driving, you have to be the judge of your own abilities and pay careful attention to how a medication affects you. You should never drive after taking a medication for the first time, as you will not know what to expect. Always talk to your pharmacist and doctor earnestly about how a particular medication could affect you. If something you take is making you feel groggy, unfocused, or otherwise impaired, it is always best to avoid driving just to be safe. If necessary, work with your pharmacist to determine a better schedule for taking your medications so they will not interfere with your daily driving habits.
What do the laws say about driving under the influence of prescription drugs?
Because there are so many different prescription medications to be tested and different effects of these drugs, setting true prescription drug DUI laws is still in its infancy stages and studies have just begun. Therefore, the only determining factor with most prescription drug DUI charges is if an officer notices that you seem to be driving impaired, which could be deemed a subjective thing in court. If you are charged with a DUI due to prescription medication, make sure you contact a DUI lawyer, Winstein, Kavensky & Cunningham, LLC., immediately for fair representation.