DUIs and Prescription Drugs

Can I be charged with a DUI if I drive while taking my medication as prescribed?

Over half of all Americans take one or more prescription medications on a daily basis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Prescription drugs can help to treat a wide variety of conditions, but some prescription drugs will have an impact on your mental state. Drugs prescribed for pain, anxiety, depression, or sleeplessness can all affect your perception and potentially your ability to drive.  In the state of Arizona, drivers found under the influence of prescription drugs could be charged with a DUI.

Arizona’s Prescription Drug DUI 

Many people who take prescription drugs are under the false assumption that so long as they take the drugs as prescribed, they cannot be charged with any sort of crime.  However, the reality is that in the state of Arizona, it is illegal to drive under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or any other substance that can impair your driving to even the slightest degree.  It will not be a defense that you are legally taking the drug; rather, the issue becomes whether or not you could be considered under the influence.

The most common prescription drugs that give rise to DUI charges include OxyContin, Valium, Vicodin, Xanax, Oxycodone, Methadone, Morphine, and Percocet.  Any medication that you have been prescribed which comes with a warning label stating that you should not take the medication before operating a vehicle could potentially give rise to a DUI charge, along with medications lacking this warning.

Drugged DUIs will typically result from an officer spotting you breaking a traffic law or otherwise presenting as intoxicated.  From there, if the officer suspects you are driving under the influence of drugs, whether illegal or prescription, he or she may order field sobriety testing.  You could be transported to the station for a urine or blood test that could detect the presence of drugs in your system.

If you are charged with a drugged driving offense, you could face a minimum of one day in jail, loss of your license for one year, over $2,000 in fines and fees, and mandatory completion of a drug and alcohol abuse course.  Defending against your drugged driving charge may revolve around challenging the stop or your status as impaired. Your Phoenix drugged DUI defense lawyer will help you to develop a strong defense.