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Can I face charges for driving after using drugs or medications?

When you think of driving under the influence, you might assume that alcohol is the substance that you are under the influence of. That isn't always the case. It is possible for a person to face criminal charges for driving under the influence of drugs, even if those drugs are over-the-counter medications or prescription medications.

What kinds of drugs are associated with driving under the influence?

Any drug that affects your ability to make decisions and function properly can lead to a DUI charge. This can include illegal drugs like cocaine, methamphetamines, marijuana and heroin. It can also include medications, such as allergy medications that make you drowsy or prescription medications like muscle relaxers or pain relief pills.

How is drug intoxication proven?

Drug intoxication is usually proven through a blood test or urinalysis that can detect whether certain drugs are in your system. There isn't a breath test for drugs, so the blood test, urinalysis and possibly field tests are used to determine if a person is under the influence of drugs. Drug Recognition Experts, who are trained to determine if a person is impaired by drugs, might perform field tests to determine if a person is under the influence of drugs.

Does a doctor's prescription matter?

Having a doctor's prescription for the drugs doesn't matter in a DUI case based on prescription drugs. In fact, many prescription pills have warnings on the bottle that warn you not to drive if you have taken the medication.

If you are facing a drugged driving charge, make sure that you understand the penalties for the charge. You can move forward with defense planning once you understand the penalties and the case that is being presented against you.

Source: FindLaw, "Driving Under the Influence of Drugs," accessed May 26, 2016

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