Could I Get a DUI for Using My Own Prescription Medication?

Many people rely on prescription medications that can affect their mental state. People who suffer from chronic pain or are recovering from an acute illness or injury may need opiate pain medicine to function. Those who suffer from anxiety may need benzodiazepines to get through the day. People with ADHD or narcolepsy may need prescription amphetamines. Insomniacs may need sleeping pills. The list goes on. People who use these medications frequently need to get to work, or the grocery store, or doctor’s appointments- just like everyone else. But could they be charged with a DUI for driving themselves after taking their prescription medication? In most cases, the answer is yes.

Those who are facing DUI charges based on their use of a medication that was prescribed to them should contact an experienced DUI attorney for help.

What the Law Says About Driving Under the Influence

In Illinois, it is illegal to drive while under the influence of any intoxicating substance. This includes alcohol, cannabis, and any other intoxicating substance, including those that have been prescribed. Your use of the medication itself does not have to be illegal for you to get a DUI. If your prescription medication makes you feel intoxicated or impaired - “high” or “loopy” - then you cannot legally drive. Generally, if your ability to drive safely is impaired, you may be found guilty of a DUI.

How Prescription Drug Impairment is Measured

Scientific measurements to show a person’s level of actual, present, impairment may not be possible when the drug in question is prescriptive. You could be charged with a DUI if there is any amount of a controlled substance in your blood, urine, or saliva, even if the drug was prescribed to you.

Some of these drugs can stay in your system for days after your last use - you could easily be accused of a DUI while perfectly sober. DUI arrests are often based on the police officer’s observations. If you do not appear impaired, you are unlikely to be arrested in the first place.

Police officers look for signs like confusion, excessive sleepiness or jumpiness, incoordination, or slurred speech. The roadside sobriety tests used on drivers who are suspected to be drunk may or may not be applicable for other forms of impairment. If you are arrested on suspicion of DUI, and you have a drug in your system, you will most likely be charged and could be convicted.

Call Will and Grundy County DUI Attorney

If you are facing DUI charges, the Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba, P.C. can offer you zealous representation. Our experienced Will County DUI lawyers will protect your rights and best interests throughout the case. Contact us at 815-740-4025 for a free consultation.