Can I Be Convicted Of A DWI For Driving While Taking A Prescription Drug?

Law Blog

Drivers don't have to be consuming alcohol or using illegal drugs to be found guilty of a DWI charge. There are many different prescription drugs that can put drivers in a state that a policeman may consider unfit for driving. 

That being said, it's important that those who are facing a DWI charge are aware of the fact that this type of DWI charge generally offers a lot more leeway than a DWI charge involving alcohol.

Standard of intoxication

When a driver is hit with a DWI while driving under the influence of alcohol, there is a very clear standard for gauging intoxication. Blood alcohol level tests very clearly and indisputably show that a driver was past the legal limit. On the other hand, there's no easy way to measure how incapacitated a person was while driving under the influence of a prescription drug.

Convictions for DWIs involving prescription drugs are also complicated by the fact that many drivers could be impaired to operate a motor vehicle even if they have only taken the doctor-prescribed amount of the drug in question. A DWI attorney will often raise the question of whether the driver could really be considered at fault if he or she was merely following doctor's orders. 

Drugs frequently determined to impair drivers

DWI charges resulting from prescription drug uses usually result from the use of commonly prescribed pain killers like acetaminophen and hydrocodone.

Other prescription drugs that could cause a DWI charge are antidepressants and antihistamines that can make drivers groggy and slow their reaction times. It's also fairly common for DWI issues to come up with sleeping pill use. 

Any drug that causes fatigue or hampers a driver's judgement could be deemed capable of inciting a DWI charge. 

The field sobriety test

Although there is no equivalent to the blood-alcohol level test in cases of drugged driving on prescription drugs, officers can use a field sobriety test to prove intoxication due to prescription drug use. 

However, field sobriety test results in this case can be difficult to use to prosecute the charge. A driver who is facing a DWI charge generally has a fairly good chance of acquittal.

Acquittal is especially likely if the driver can prove that he or she was following the prescription properly and if it can be proven that the driver was not told that operating a motor vehicle while taking the drug is illegal or unsafe. 

To get professional help, contact a DWI attorney in your area. 


23 July 2015

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