Most people think of DUIs as being for those driving drunk or under the influence of drugs like marijuana. While that is true, you can also get a DUI for driving under the influence of prescription drugs. Though it isn’t illegal to take medications prescribed to you by a doctor, if they impair your ability to safely operate a vehicle, you may be pulled over and issued a DUI.
A DUI Covers Driving While Impaired from Any Substance
A DUI can cover any type of impairment from a substance, whether alcohol, drugs, or prescription medications. If you show signs while driving that you cannot safely operate your vehicle, a police officer is likely to pull you over to check your wellbeing and sobriety. On the side of the road, if the officer believes you seem under the influence, he will likely request a test to check your sobriety.
Police Officers Will Look for Certain Signs Before Pulling You Over
When patrolling, officers will look for certain behaviors from drivers that may indicate they’re driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Some of these signs include weaving on the road, driving too fast or too slow, or delayed reaction times. If they notice one or more of these, they will likely pull you over so they can assess your condition. Face-to-face, they will look out for signs you are slurring your speech or the smell of alcohol or drugs on your breath or in your car.
It Will Involve Either a Breath Test or Blood Test
If the officer pulling you over decides you do not appear sober, they will ask to administer a sobriety test. This could be a roadside breathalyzer test or you may go back to the station for a breath or blood test. If they suspect a substance other than alcohol, you will likely be asked to take a blood test, as breath tests only work for alcohol.
Many Prescription Medications Inhibit Your Driving
While prescription drugs are serving a purpose, such as pain medication, they also can impact your mental capabilities. It’s important to consult with your doctor, read the label on your medication, and pay attention to changes in your behavior and abilities. If you’re not sure it’s safe for you to drive, find someone who can drive for you.
Prescription Medications Often Have a Disclaimer
Your doctor should inform you of any key side effects of your medication that may make it difficult for you to do everyday activities such as driving. However, with or without this direct explanation, it’s best to read the label on your prescription medications to check for any disclaimers or warnings. If it is not safe to take before driving, it will say so on the label and you should take it seriously. This disclaimer may be as simple as telling you not to operate heavy machinery, which includes operating a vehicle.
Some Prescription Drugs Can Have Similar Impacts on Your Behavior to Alcohol
There are some drugs that are fine to take at any time. Others, however, can make you feel high or drunk, exhibiting similar impaired capabilities. This includes slurring your words, short attention spans, inability to focus, delayed reaction times, and blurred vision. That list is not comprehensive but does give common examples of common behavior under the influence of drugs or alcohol, including prescriptions. Even over the counter allergy medications can impair your ability to drive, so it’s important to pay attention to the directions on the packaging for any medication you take.
Look for Signs You are Impaired, Whether from Alcohol or Prescriptions
It’s your responsibility to understand when you are impaired and should not be driving, no matter the cause. Look for the above listed signs that an officer will look for. If you notice yourself slurring words, weaving while walking or driving, or easily losing focus, it’s best to avoid getting behind the wheel.
What’s Your Defense Against a DUI for Prescription Drugs?
Simply showing that you have a valid prescription is not a defense for a DUI Prescription Drugs in Colorado. Regardless of the legality of the drug you have taken, the fact that you have gotten behind the wheel while mentally impaired still stands. With that said, having an experienced DUI attorney to help build your defense can still help you get a lower sentence and limit negative repercussions.
Build Your DUI Defense with Boulder Lawyer Phil Clark
If you need a knowledgeable Boulder lawyer to help build your DUI defense, give Phil Clark a call for a free 30-minute consultation to see how he can help. With years of experience and thorough knowledge of laws and regulations around Colorado DUIs, Phil Clark will help you build the best defense for your individual case.
For more information about your DUI or DWAI, Contact the Boulder DUI Attorney Phil Clark today for a FREE Initial Consultation (303) 444-4251.