Prescription Drugs can still Lead to DUI Charges
Most people know that driving under the influence of alcohol, illegal drugs or drugs not legally prescribed is against the law in Pennsylvania. Most people do not know that taking their prescription drug, even as directed, could result in the driver being charged with Driving Under the Influence.
Under subsection (d)(2) of Pennsylvania’s DUI laws, driving under the influence of any drug or combination of drugs could result in a DUI if it is determined that the driver’s ability to safely drive, operate or be in actual physical control of a vehicle is impaired by that drug.
Many common medications, even some over the counter medications, used to treat things like the cold and flu, allergies, pain, anxiety, sleep disorders, depression, ADD, ADHD and many other issues contain drugs which could impair a driver’s ability to operate a vehicle.
Just like any DUI investigation, if the police are investigating a traffic infraction or an accident and learn through observation or questioning that the driver had taken some sort of medication, various sobriety tests could be performed in the field, the driver could be taken for a blood draw to test for the presence of a drug or both. If the officer determines that the medication has impaired the driver’s ability to safely operate a vehicle, the driver will be charged with DUI. This is true even if the medication is being taken legally, taken under the supervision of a doctor or even if the medication was bought over the counter.
Most importantly, there is no leniency under the law for someone who is convicted for violating this section of the DUI law. A driver convicted for driving under the influence of their legal prescription drug or over the counter flu medication is penalized the same as a driver convicted for driving after drinking a bottle of liquor, smoking marijuana or ingesting any other illegal drug. These penalties could include jail time, large fines, and lengthy driver’s license suspensions. Do not think that these charges will be dismissed just because you are taking the drug as prescribed. That will not happen. The consequences of a conviction are real. If you find yourself facing charges for driving under the influence of your prescription drug or over the counter medication contact the experienced Attorneys of Mooney & Associates.
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