Can Prescription Medications Result in a DUI?

Can Prescription Medications Result in a DUI?

Posted on : January 19, 2020
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Maryland DUI Involving Other Substances

Driving under the influence in Maryland is typically thought to be the result of alcohol consumption, however, DUI charges can apply to multiple substances. This includes illegal drugs like methamphetamine as well as prescription medication. Can you be arrested for DUI if you were prescribed the medication by a doctor? Here’s what you should know. 

Driving While Impaired to Any Degree 

Generally, the degree of impairment is evaluated before the cause. Even if you take a breathalyzer and the test reads 0.00%, the officer who stopped you has the right to make an arrest if they believe you cannot safely operate your vehicle or you are otherwise impaired. 

How Drug Impairment is Measured  

Drug impairment cannot be evaluated with a standard breathalyzer test, which is designed only to detect the presence of alcohol. Instead, officers who suspect drugged driving often use: 

Chemical Tests 

After you’re taken into custody, the arresting officer may transport you to a medical facility to have your blood drawn. Your blood will be tested for the presence of intoxicating drugs and their metabolites to pinpoint how much of what substance(s) were in your system. Refusal to take a chemical test usually leads to automatic license suspension. 

Witness Observations  

The officer who pulled you over is likely already scrutinizing your behavior for indicators that you are driving while impaired. They, and other nearby witnesses, can make a statement that you were observed with common signs of drug intoxication, such as red eyes, slurred speech, and marked drowsiness. 

Field Sobriety Tests  

Often, officers will use field sobriety testing to evaluate cases of suspected impaired driving. You’ll be asked to stand on one leg, walk on a straight line heel-to-toe, and follow a light with your eyes. These tests are arbitrary and largely inaccurate but are believed to assess speech, balance, motor skills, and coordination. 

Poor performance on these tests allegedly indicates some degree of impairment, although this theory has largely been debunked. You have the right to decline to submit to field sobriety testing, and it’s generally in your best interest to do so.  

When to Call an Attorney After a Drug DUI Arrest  

Were you arrested and charged with driving under the influence of prescription medications? Don’t wait to get legal help. Maryland criminal defense attorney Richard Brueckner can help protect your rights, your reputation, and your future after a DUI charge. Contact Attorney Brueckner now for your consultation at 410-430-1464. 

 

Posted by: Richard Brueckner

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