Most Connecticut drivers are aware of the dangers of driving while under the influence of alcohol. However, not everyone is as well educated on the possibility of getting a DWI charge while driving on a legally prescribed medication. There are dangers to driving while on any drug, even if it’s a prescription drug that’s legal in your state. Read this blog or contact one of our Hartford County DUI Attorneys today to learn more about this issue.
AM I AT RISK OF A DWI CHARGE FOR DRIVING WHILE ON A PRESCRIBED DRUG?
Yes, you could possibly get a DUI (driving under the influence) or DWI (driving while intoxicated) charge if you take a prescription medication that affects your ability to drive. This is because DUI/DWI crimes include drug intoxication, not just alcohol intoxication. In fact, a DUI is defined in Connecticut law as operating a vehicle while impaired by alcohol and/or legal or illegal drugs. Certain medications may cause side effects that can impact a person’s ability to safely drive. Some examples include central nervous system depressants (like Xanax), stimulants (like Adderall), and opioids (like Vicodin). Possible side effects of these types of medications include drowsiness, blurred vision, and more.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I GET PULLED OVER FOR DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF A PRESCRIPTION MEDICATION?
If you’re driving while on a prescribed drug and you experience side effects that cause you to commit driving errors (like swerving between lanes), then a police officer is likely to pull you over. The police officer will probably perform basic sobriety tests if they believe you to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs. They might also require you to take a breathalyzer, but this only shows alcohol content in your system and not drugs. In order to determine if you have drugs in your system, the police will need to perform a blood or urine test. However, just because they find legal drugs in your system doesn’t mean that the drugs were impairing your driving capabilities. The police will need to hire a drug recognition expert (DRE) to determine which drugs were causing which effects, and not all police officers choose to hire a DRE. Without a DRE report, you could likely escape a DWI charge because there wouldn’t be enough evidence to prove that your prescribed drug was impairing your ability to safely drive.
Have you recently been charged with a DUI for taking a prescribed drug in Connecticut? You’ll likely want to speak with a talented criminal defense lawyer who has your best interests in mind. Thankfully, the Law Office of Marc N. Needelman is here to fight for you! Contact our firm today for quality legal counseling with one of our highly experienced DUI attorneys.