Can I get a DUI for Driving after Taking Prescription Medications?

A DUI (driving under the influence) and DWI (driving while intoxicated) is defined as operating a vehicle under the influence of a substance that impairs his or her ability to safely control the vehicle.  It is easy recognize a DUI when you see someone weaving across lanes on their way home from a bar or party.  But it’s also possible to get a DUI for driving after taking a few prescribed pain killers or other legal, pharmaceutical drugs.  Someone impaired by legal drugs can be found guilty and punished for driving while under the influence in the same way as any drunk driver.

In some states the laws on prescription drug are fuzzy. but California law spells out that “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 . . . .” (VC 23630.) California makes it a crime for anyone addicted to a drug — other than methadone for treating heroin addiction — to drive a vehicle. (VC 23152(c).)

While it’s clear that driving under the influence of prescription drugs can be illegal, there are no current standards for how much of any given drug can be in someone’s system without causing impairment.  This is unlike drinking, which has a 0.08% blood alcohol level maximum.  The National Traffic and Highway Safety Administration (NTHSA) has begun to study the effects of many legal and illegal drugs in detail and has recognized the overall increase in prescription drug abuse nationwide.  Until standards are set, police officers will continue to use a combination of elements in considering arrest, such as weaving, reckless maneuvers.

If you have been arrested for drunk driving, driving under the influence, DUI or DWI in Los Gatos, Campbell, San Jose, Cupertino, or Santa Clara, your case will benefit greatly with the experienced legal advice and assistance of a specialized Los Gatos drunk driving lawyer or Los Gatos DUI attorney. Call the experienced DUI attorneys of Anchor Law Group at (408) 500-5280 to begin protecting your rights TODAY….