What Are the Challenges in DUI Cases Involving Prescription Medications?

Some prescription medications can have various side effects that impair cognitive function, reaction time, and coordination, crucial for safe driving. Law enforcement could charge you with impaired driving based on the impact of prescription medication on your system.

Criminal defense attorneys in Colorado Springs explain that various challenges could arise in DUI cases involving prescription medications. For example, determining the level of impairment and its impact on your driving ability can be challenging.

Unlike alcohol impairment, which can be determined through testing methods like breathalyzers, detecting drug impairment entails more complex assessments. Law enforcers may conduct field sobriety tests and require blood and urine tests to establish the presence of drugs in your system.

What is the Science Behind How Prescription Medications Can Affect Your Driving Ability?

If you’re facing DUI charges that involve prescription medication, knowing the science behind how they affect your driving ability is crucial for your defense. Many medications contain substances that affect your cognitive and motor skills. They slow your reaction times, decrease coordination, and impair decision-making skills.

The side effects of some legal medications can be worse than those caused by alcohol intake. Colorado Springs drug crime lawyers highlight the following as the most popular medications that can cause impaired judgment, dizziness, blurred vision, fainting, confusion, and drowsiness, heightening the risk of accidents while driving:

  • Antihistamines
  • Cough suppressants
  • Antidepressants
  • Sleep aids
  • Opioids
  • Anticonvulsants
  • High blood pressure drugs and diuretics

Prescription Antibiotics

Antibiotics are prescribed to treat infections, but some can alter cognitive abilities. They may contain a stimulant called pseudoephedrine, which is known to cause nervousness, restlessness, and elevated heart rate. Some antibiotics, such as Azithromycin, may also cause nausea and other symptoms that affect one’s ability to drive safely.

The severity of the effect of prescription medications varies from one person to another, with some drugs being more likely to affect you than others. Mixing alcohol with medication could also increase the severity of the symptoms. Unfortunately, police officers often use their discretion when assessing impairment from a prescription drug based on “instinct.”

The assumptions are often erroneous, meaning they could lead to an unwarranted arrest of an innocent person. If you’re facing DUI charges based on prescription medication, consult Colorado Springs drug crime lawyers for legal assistance. They can help you evaluate your legal options and build a strong defense to protect you from the harsh legal penalties.

What Are the Legal Ramifications of Prescription DUI?

A DUI charge based on prescription medications is a Class 1 misdemeanor that could earn you fines, license suspension, and mandatory drug classes upon conviction. Other possible penalties are jail time and probation. The specific penalties depend on

  • The case specifics
  • Whether it is a first offense
  • Whether there were injuries to a third-party
  • Whether you could benefit from a drug treatment program

The issue of driving under the influence of legal drugs can be complicated, and it’s crucial to be aware of the dangers and consequences. While you may avoid criminal consequences, the evidence against you can be used in a civil lawsuit to prove the impairment caused the accident. Consult drug crime lawyers in Colorado Springs for legal counsel.

How Can I Defend Myself Against Prescription Medication DUI Charges?

When facing DUI charges involving prescription or OTC medications, it’s crucial to create a robust defense strategy. Working with experienced criminal defense attorneys in Colorado Springs is crucial to enable you to navigate the legal nuances of DUI charges. Possible approaches to defending yourself are:

Challenging the Arrest

Your defense attorneys could question the officer’s probable cause for the traffic stop or scrutinize the procedure the officers used in administering the field sobriety tests. They could also challenge the accuracy of the chemical tests in determining impairment. Chemical tests could be invalid because of:

  • Improperly drawn blood
  • Contaminated medical equipment
  • Improper handling and storage of samples

Another angle could be to assess the validity of the arrest and identify any potential violations of your rights.

Examining the Effects of Medication

In prescription medication DUI cases, it’s crucial to examine the effects of the medication on your system and to establish whether the medication caused the impairment or other factors had a role to play.

Pre-existing medical conditions and fatigue are some factors that could have contributed to the appearance of impairment. Your behavior suggesting impairment from drugs was not drug-induced and can be explained by other medical conditions that mimic the signs of drug impairment. Examples are:

  • Allergies
  • Diabetic ketoacidosis
  • Injury
  • Arthritis
  • Anxiety or nervousness

Your lawyers can engage an expert in the medical profession to present this argument in your favor. For example, poor balance and changes in pupil size are two indicators of drug use, which could also be affected by anxiety and nervousness.

Innocence or Lack of Knowledge

You could argue that you didn’t know of the potential for impairment from the medication. This defense can work well if the prescribing physician does not communicate the medication’s side effects or if the side effects are not clearly indicated on the label.

Navigating the Challenges of Prescription Medication DUI with the Input of a Skilled Drug Crime Lawyer

Facing DUI charges can be scary, with the case becoming more complicated when prescription medications are involved. However, with appropriate legal representation and counsel, you can navigate the challenges and create a solid defense strategy to protect your rights and future. Skilled drug crime lawyers in Colorado Springs can walk the journey with you.

The Lux Law Firm has skilled criminal defense lawyers in Colorado Springs. We can evaluate your DUI case and help you formulate a solid defense strategy to beat the charges. Don’t let a prescription medication DUI impact your life and future. Call us at 719-451-7469 to schedule a FREE case evaluation.