Kimberly J. Benjamin, Founder & Managing Attorney
March 01. 2023.
Understanding DUI/DWI Drugs
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of driving under the influence (DUI) fatalities rose from 15.7% to 30% from the year 2019 to 2020. As such, states maintain strict DUI laws to reduce traffic deaths. There is no exception in Missouri, where alcohol-impaired driving and operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs results in harsh penalties.
New York was the first state to set up impairment DUI laws in 1910. However, the statute on drunk driving didn’t expressly define impaired driving. Instead, the arresting officer decided what constituted a DUI-based offense.
With more pragmatic steps, states developed blood alcohol concentration (BAC) monitoring technology. Impaired drivers are now required to submit to a BAC test. A reading exceeding 0.08 percent results in DUI charges that carry hefty fines and even possible jail time.
Driving Under the Influence of Prescription Drugs
Taking prescription medication and operating a vehicle could result in a DUI arrest in Missouri. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, some prescription drugs impair drivers and could have fatal outcomes.
Some prescription drugs do not impair the driver on their own, but when taken with alcohol or another drug, they cause impairment. Impaired driving in Missouri results in a DUI charge regardless of whether you used prescription or over-the-counter medication.
After the arrest process for DUI, a person will have to face the court for sentencing and possible fines and attend an administrative hearing to avoid license suspensions or revocations.
It is important to work with a lawyer throughout the process, from pre-trial motions to trial, sentencing, and appeals, to protect your rights.
Side Effects of Legal Drugs That Can Impair Driving
Medications may cause drowsiness or dizziness that could impair your ability to operate a vehicle safely. Drugs with sedative properties slow down reaction time and reduce coordination. On the other hand, stimulants often create feelings of alertness and energy that could lead to overconfidence in one’s driving abilities, which is also dangerous.
If a person takes medication with alcohol, their reaction time, judgment, and coordination can be significantly impaired. In order to avoid prescription drug DUI, speak with your doctor about any side effects of your medication.
With so much at stake, it is crucial to seek legal counsel if arrested for DUI in Missouri. An experienced lawyer knows how to defend against drugged driving and will help protect your rights.
What Types of Medications May Cause a Driver to Become Impaired?
Medications that can impair a driver include:
Other over-the-counter medications
DUI Blood Test for Prescription Drugs
In Missouri, law enforcement officers may use a blood test to determine if you are driving under the influence of prescription drugs. A blood test is usually done when an individual fails or refuses field sobriety tests such as walk-and-turn tests, roadside coordination assessments, etc.
Medical professionals will take your blood sample for tests at designated laboratories. The blood test will detect traces of various substances, including legal medications like opioids and benzodiazepines. If you are found to be impaired by drug metabolites in your system at the time of driving, you will face a DUI charge.
What Should You Do if Charged With a DUI While on Prescription Drugs?
Have you been charged with a DUI while on prescription drugs? If so, then don’t panic!
Enlist the help and services of an experienced attorney as soon as possible. An experienced Missouri lawyer will explain the quick facts on a DWI Missouri and identify potential legal defenses to avoid conviction or reduce the penalties.
Contact Missouri DWI & Criminal Law Center for a consultation today!