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Understanding Prescription Drug DUIs

While you can be charged with a DUI if you are caught driving after consuming alcohol or illegal drugs, you can also be charged while operating a vehicle on prescription medication. Not only can prescribed pain medicines result in side-effects that result in impairment, but also over-the-counter medicines as well.

But Prescription Medication is Legal, Right?

People commonly believe that if something is considered as legal, such as prescribed medicines, then an individual under the influence while operating a vehicle can avoid criminal charges. However, that is not the case according to the law.

Think of prescription medication as alcohol. Although consuming alcohol is technically legal for those 21 years of age or older, operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol is considered illegal. So while the practice of taking prescribed medicine is fine on its own, combining the act with driving is not.

Common prescription medication that is known to cause drowsiness, impaired vision, slurred speech, and impairment include:

  • Ambien
  • Codeine
  • Xanax
  • Vicodin
  • Benadryl
  • Claritin
  • Alprazolam
  • Tylenol PM

A first DUI conviction in California is considered a misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum jail sentence of six months, fines of $1,000 or more, and license suspension for up to six months. If you’ve been arrested or charged with DUI, it is in your best interest to contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer in your area who can help you decide how best to proceed with your case.

If you were recently arrested for a DUI in Ventura County, contact The Law Offices of Robert F. Sommers and schedule a free consultation today.