Can Prescription Drug Use Lead to DUI Charges?

Driving Under the Influence of Prescribed Medications is Still Illegal

As you may know, you could be arrested and charged with driving under the influence (DUI) if you consume unsafe amounts of alcohol or illegal drugs prior to operating a motor vehicle. Something that you may not be aware of, however, is that you could also be arrested for intoxicated driving if you attempt to operate a vehicle while under the influence of certain legally prescribed medications. In order to successfully convict you of DUI, it must only be proven that your ability to drive safely was impaired by the effects of alcohol or drugs—which does not exclude prescription medications.

There are a number of prescription drugs that come with strict warnings not to operate a motor vehicle immediately after consumption, as certain painkillers, anti-depressants and allergy medications have side effects that include severe drowsiness. Based on this fact alone, lawmakers have determined that it would be unsafe for anyone to drive while under the influence of these drugs. In fact, California law specifically states that even though the drugs were legally consumed, this in and of itself does not constitute a valid defense if the defendant subsequently made the decision to get behind the wheel.

The Penalties that Can Be Imposed for Drug-Related DUI

In the state of California, driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) is no different than driving under the influence of alcohol in the eyes of the law. This means that you could expect to face the same legal penalties as those imposed in a typical DUI case – depending on your criminal history.

First DUID Offense

  • Three to five years of informal probation
  • Up to six months in county jail
  • Fines ranging between $390 and $1,000
  • License suspension for six to ten months

Second DUID Offense

  • Three to five years of informal probation
  • 96 hours to one year in county jail
  • Fines ranging between $390 and $1,000
  • License suspension for two years

Third DUID Offense

  • Three to five years of informal probation
  • 120 days to one year in county jail
  • Fines ranging between $390 and $1,000
  • License revocation for three years

Fourth DUID Offense

  • Two to three years in state prison
  • Fines ranging between $390 and $1,000
  • License revocation for four years
  • Designation as a habitual traffic offender

Schedule Your Free Initial Consultation Today

If you have been arrested for driving under the influence of a prescription medication, it is imperative that you move quickly to discuss your case with a San Jose DUI lawyer at The Law Offices of Adam Allen Arant. Time is of the essence when your future is on the line, so there is no reason why you should wait any longer to get the help that you will need. Fortunately, taking the first step is easy. When you contact our firm today at (408) 680-2763, your initial consultation won't cost you a thing! Call now.

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