When you think about a DUI from drugs, you usually picture illegal substances. However, even using legal drugs can lead to impaired driving, depending on what type they are. In many of these cases, it involves somebody taking a prescribed drug with drowsiness side effects. Many drugs will say that you should not operate a vehicle or other machinery after you take them. Consider a situation where a person takes these pills and then leaves for work, but they become so drowsy that their mind is temporarily impaired. They drive right through a red light and plow into another vehicle.
If the police officers show up and they realize that the person took a prescription medicine, they could be arrested for a DUI. The elements to meet these cases is somebody driving a vehicle while under the influence or intoxicated. A person is driving intoxicated when they are unable to drive safely after they take an alcoholic beverage, a drug, or a combination of both.
California law states, “The fact that any person charged with a DUI is, or has been entitled to use, the drug under the laws of this state shall not constitute a defense.” California takes drug use very seriously, under all circumstances. They then make it a crime for anyone addicted to a drug to drive a vehicle, aside from methadone for treating heroin addiction. Legal and illegal drugs can both lead to impairment and addiction, depending on what type it is, which is why they treat the law so seriously.
NHTSA’s Take on Driving on Prescription Drugs
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has found that 16% of people who drive at night have some sort of drug in their system, ranging from stimulants, sedatives, and antidepressants, to illegal drugs that you can’t get over the counter. The NHTSA has been working on identifying methods of impairment assessment to accurately measure impairment in those who take legal and illegal drugs and drive.
It is important to understand how your prescription medicine can affect you when you decide to drive. If you have been charged with a DUI and you aren’t sure where to turn, call us today. At The Law Office of Peter Blair, we can help you through every step of your case.