Can You Get a DUI for Prescription Drugs?

When people think about anything related to driving under the influence, their thoughts are generally centered around alcohol.

The reason there is such a close association between DUI charges and alcohol is the majority of cases do involve this specific substance. Additionally, most of the education around DUI laws focuses on topics like blood alcohol content.

No discussion about driving under the influence would be complete without saying that it’s never a good idea to get behind the wheel of a car when you’re drunk. Even though finding a different way to get home may seem inconvenient or expensive, those things pale in comparison to having to go through the process of dealing with a DUI arrest.

However, what many discussions about DUIs overlook is the fact that not driving drunk isn’t a guarantee of avoiding this type of charge with absolute certainty.

There are plenty of gray areas that make it possible for a police officer to arrest and charge someone with a DUI despite the individual not believing they are drunk or even at the legal limit.

Alcohol Isn’t the Only Substance That Can Lead to a DUI

In addition to the gray areas that surround blood alcohol content levels, a lot of people are unaware of the fact that it’s illegal to drive a car under the influence of many types of prescription drugs. The fact that certain circumstances result in prescription drugs being viewed in the same light as illegal street narcotics can come as a surprise.

There are a growing number of DUI charges resulting from the innocent use of prescription medications. This is due to a lack of public education about this aspect of DUIs and the fact that more people than ever before are being prescribed different types of drugs by their doctors.

Plenty of people who find themselves in this type of situation think that their prescription will actually protect them from this charge. Unfortunately, Section 18.2-266 of Virginia law is very clear on this issue:

“It shall be unlawful for any person to drive or operate any motor vehicle . . . while such person is under the influence of any narcotic drug or any other self-administered intoxicant or drug of whatsoever nature, or any combination of such drugs, to a degree which impairs his ability to drive or operate any motor vehicle . . . safely.”

Consider this, a tablet of Xanax, Prozac or Adderall (all legally prescribed) MAY render a person’s reflexes impaired enough to slow there response in an emergency situation. Imagine, getting in a fender bender believing the other driver is to blame and you, having had nothing to drink, are being investigated for driving under the influence. It happens. Be protected.

Get Professional Legal Help with a DUI Charge

If you’ve been charged with a DUI for prescription drugs, the NoVA Law Firm can help. We can thoroughly investigate your case and develop the strongest defense possible, beginning with a free initial consultation. For an experienced Fairfax DUI Attorney who will always pursue the best solution in your case, contact Eric E. Clingan at the NoVa Law Firm.

Eric Clingan
About the Author: Eric Clingan
Eric Clingan is an experienced Criminal Defense attorney and the founder of the NoVA Law firm. He focuses his practice on defending residents of Northern Virginia charged with DUIs, reckless driving, drug charges, and other criminal accusations.