Many of us take drugs prescribed to us by our doctors. These offer a wide array of health benefits, but users should be aware that legal drug use can lead to DUID (driving under the influence of drugs) charges. While doctors never have ill intent to prescribe harmful drugs, there may be specific side effects that are unavoidable or perhaps pose a risk.
Is it illegal?
It is illegal to operate a motor vehicle while under the debilitating influence of drugs or alcohol, but it is not illegal to take drugs and drive. Impairment is the issue. Suppose an officer sees someone driving in a manner that is unsafe to themselves and others. In that case, they will pull the driver over and potentially arrest the driver for driving under the influence.
How do these drugs impair?
Even using drugs as prescribed may lead to impairment, so there are stickers on prescription containers warning users against operating heavy machinery or driving. The effects may include:
- Blurred vision
- Slowed reaction time
- Slowed movement
These symptoms are a problem when the user is safe inside their home, and users should notify their physician if the problems persist—experiencing these symptoms while behind the wheel can be life-threatening.
What could happen
The penalties for DUID are just as severe as if the drugs were illegal or there was alcohol involved. There is a risk of jail time, loss of license and other consequences. The court may order the driver to seek treatment if there is evidence of drug abuse or addiction. The best-case scenario is that first-time offenses are loss of license and traffic misdemeanors. Another lesser charge is driving while ability impaired (DWAI), which means that there is less impairment and lighter penalties.
These are serious charges
Charges related to impaired driving can involve short and long-term consequences, so it is essential to contact a criminal defense attorney who handles DUIs to discuss this problematic situation. They can listen to the facts of the case and help minimize the impact of these charges.