Can You Get a DUI After Taking Prescription Medication?

If you’re taking prescription medications, you may be surprised to learn that you can be charged with driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI) in the state of Florida. However, that doesn’t mean that you are automatically at risk of being arrested any time if you are taking medications for an ongoing chronic condition. 

In this brief article, a DUI attorney in Clearwater with Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan shared some tips to help you understand when a prescription medication can be the cause of a DUI or DWI in Florida.

When Can a Prescription Medication Cause a DUI or DWI?

The legal definition of a DUI is defined in Florida Statute Florida Statute 316.193, which states that a driver is “under the influence” if they have taken a drug and their “normal faculties are impaired.” 

What does that mean? If a person has taken something that has affected their physical or mental capacities and are unable to safely operate a vehicle, they are driving while impaired. 

For example, if you have been legally prescribed Alprazolam (“Xanax”) for anxiety and need to leave the house for any reason, you may be arrested for driving under the influence of prescription medications. Another common example is driving while under the influence of a high dosage of Adderall. This drug is used to treat ADHD, and although you can drive safely while taking it, if you take too much of it you may become more prone to aggressive or dangerous driving. Of course, if you regularly take these medications, they will always show up in a urine specimen.

In this instance, you could be charged with a DUI even though the medication was legally prescribed to you and you are using it to treat a chronic condition.

What are the Penalties for Drugged Driving?

You may be thinking that drunk driving has a harsher penalty than driving under the influence of prescriptions, but you’d be wrong. If arrested for drugged driving, you might face anywhere from days to years in jail or prison, and will face steep fines ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. 

You may also have to complete community service and lengthy probation periods, in addition to losing your driver’s license. On top of this, you will have a permanent criminal record. You can read more about the mandatory sentencing requirements here.

How To Defend Yourself Against Drugged Driving

If you’ve been arrested for driving under the influence of legal prescription drugs, or drugs that are not prescribed by a physician, a DUI defense attorney in Clearwater can help. Your attorney will help you understand all of your options, including the possibility of getting your charges reduced or participating in a diversion program for DUI arrests. 

If you’ve been arrested for driving under the influence, call Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan today. 

Request a FREE consultation today by giving us a call at (727) 578-0303, or submitting our consultation request form.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

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