DUI and Prescription Drugs

by Mark Beller on Apr. 15, 2020

Criminal DUI-DWI Criminal 

Summary: When we discuss Dui's, most people think of drunk driving. However, you can get pulled over for a DUI for drugs and prescription medications as well. All medications even legal prescription drugs can get you in trouble if you have them in your system while driving.

You Can Get a DUI From Taking Prescription Drugs

       Most DUI laws in Arizona involve the driver’s ability to drive a vehicle safely. Alcohol and illegal drugs are known for their physical and psychological effects on a person. However this also applies to prescription drugs.

       Many legal prescription medications can affect your coordination and motor skills and ability to drive a vehicle. Arizona DUI lawsmake it possible to get a DUI while taking medications, even when you have a prescription, and you are taking the prescribed dosage.

        Technically, any medication in your system is fair game for law enforcement. However, they wouldn’t be trying to find something as common as aspirin in your bloodstream. What they will be looking for are medications with active ingredients that could cause impairment, such as:

  • Prescription painkillers
  • Anxiety medication
  • Muscle relaxants
  • Cough syrup
  • Nighttime cold or flu medicine
  • Any drug that causes drowsiness or lightheadedness

     Drivers with a valid marijuana card who are stopped with marijuana in their system may also DUI face charges.  Both marijuana and alcohol can be legally take in Arizona but you are not allowed to get behind the wheel if you are impaired by either.   Additonally, you may not feel that you are impaired and thet you are fine to drive.  However, the police will often stop drivers for minor traffic violations and then begin a DUI investigation.

    When a police officer pulls you over on suspicion of DUI, the assumption is that you might be drunk. However, if they established that you have not been drinking, the focus shifts to determining if you are under the influence of drugs.  Some police officers get special traing to be considered a drug recognition expert.  This is special training to detect the signs of drug impairment through the driver’s behavior, eye movements, speech, and other clues.   If you are arrested and  it’s your first DUI you face the following penalties:

  • Minimum of 24 hours in jail
  • A one year license revocation
  • Drug and alcohol abuse education
  • Around $2,000 in fines, fees, and other costs

      If you’re charged with a dui, you need to hire a lawyer who is experienced and familiar with Arizona’s DUI laws. A DUI lawyer will examine the evidence against you, and develop a legal strategy to defend you. After examining your case, they may discover that there was no probable cause for stopping you, or that the drug test was improperly administered.  There are often numerous issues that can lead to reduced or dismissed charges.

     Attorney Mark Beller has been involved in criminal law field for over 20 years, with a focus on DUI and felony defense. He is a former prosecutor with the Maricopa County Attormey's Office and The City of Scottsdale.   Call (602) 690-3018 to schedule a consultation.


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