Can You Get a DUI for Prescription Drugs?
Jan. 16, 2023
Taking prescription drugs is an important part of many people’s lives. Some folks take life-saving medications to help them manage severe illnesses. Nevertheless, taking prescription drugs may lead to some unforeseen issues. One of those issues is driving under the influence of prescription drugs. RSL Law is prepared to serve those in Port Charlotte, Fort Myers, and Sarasota, Florida. Reach out to skilled criminal defense attorneys for legal guidance and advocacy.
DUID for Prescription Drugs
When most people think about DUI, they think of alcohol or illegal drugs. While that is certainly the case for many DUI charges, some folks may unwittingly get charged for DUID.
But what is DUID? Driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) refers to driving while intoxicated by drugs, either with legal prescription drugs and illegal ones.
Please note that there is nothing wrong with taking prescription drugs. Nevertheless, their effects can lead to impairment. However, the medications themselves may cause symptoms such as drowsiness and reduced cognitive capabilities. Impairment refers to the inability to operate a motor vehicle properly. For example, some prescription drugs may reduce alertness, causing reflexes to become slower. This impaired condition may lead to an accident on the road.
Therefore, it is always best to consult a physician before taking medications and then getting behind the wheel. Also, always heed the warnings medications have, and know exactly how medications affect you before driving.
Some medications advise individuals to refrain from operating a motor vehicle for a few hours after taking it. Doing so helps prevent auto accidents.
Additionally, some prescription drugs may contain substances that can lead to failing a drug test. This point is key. The foundation of proving a DUID is a positive drug test. As a result, taking some prescription medications can lead to a positive test confirming DUID charges.
DUID & Florida Law
Florida law recognizes driving under the influence of prescription drugs in the same category as driving drunk. However, driving under the influence of illegal drugs, controlled substances, or prescription medication can be an ambiguous situation.
Take alcohol as an example. Florida law recognizes a blood-alcohol limit of 0.08% as legally drunk. A blood test can confirm this blood-alcohol level. In contrast, there is no specific limit for substances. Consequently, DUID charges may ensue for the mere presence of a controlled substance in a person’s bloodstream.
Unfortunately, a DUID conviction can have serious consequences on a person’s life. Anyone facing DUID charges as a result of prescription drugs should check with a professional criminal defense attorney to determine their options.
Consequences of Driving on Prescription Drugs
In Florida, the most immediate consequence of driving under the influence of prescription drugs is causing a traffic incident. Sadly, an accident is just the beginning.
First, driving under the influence of drugs can cause the driver to become liable for the accident. This liability may include material damages and personal injury claims.
Second, a traffic incident may cause a fatality. In addition to criminal charges, the liable party may face a wrongful death lawsuit. Since the liable driver was legally impaired, they may be found guilty of a wrongful.
Lastly, there are personal consequences to consider. While jail time may be the most serious consequence, other ramifications, such as loss of employment opportunities and professional licensing (and substance abuse counseling) may ensue.
In most cases, a DUID charge can lead to a fine and points on a driver’s license. In other circumstances, DUID charges can lead to license suspension. Therefore, avoiding driving while feeling the medication’s side effects is always best.
What Prescription Drugs Can Lead to DUID Charges?
The following prescription medications may lead to DUID charges in Florida and many other states:
Drugs containing alcohol
Psychiatric medications to deal with mental health issues such as anxiety or depression, including Xanax or Ativan
Strong painkillers containing substances such as codeine, hydrocodone, and oxycodone may lead to DUID charges (These drugs can cause impairment, such as drowsiness, blurred vision, or dizziness.)
Sleeping pills such as Ambien, Lunesta, or Sonata that lead to driver impairment
ADD and ADHD medications such as Adderall or Ritalin (These medications can cause a lack of concentration and focus, leading to driver impairment.)
While this list is not exhaustive, double-checking with the prescribing physician about possible impairment while driving is always a good idea. Also, consulting with a trusted criminal defense attorney can help individuals understand if driving is safe while driving.
Getting the Right Legal Counsel in Florida
At RSL Law, Attorneys Richard Ruhl and Sean Lux work hard to protect their clients’ rights to a fair defense. They know that DUID charges can be defended, and they diligently strive to help their clients get the counsel they deserve. From their offices in Port Charlotte and Sarasota, Florida, they serve the surrounding areas of Florida. That is why they strive to help their clients get the right legal counsel they deserve. Don’t face DUID charges alone. Get professional legal counsel from a top criminal defense attorney in Florida.