A driving while impaired charge is serious business, and it doesn’t just mean that you were under the influence of alcohol. If you have a substance in your body that is inhibiting your ability to safely drive a vehicle, you can be charged with a DWI. But what if you have a prescription for the medication that is inhibiting your driving ability?
The laws regarding prescription drug DWIs are a little tricky to navigate, because the law states that it is a crime to drive, operate or be in physical control of a motor vehicle if your body contains any amount of Schedule I or Schedule II controlled substance other than marijuana or its derivatives. However, if you have a valid prescription for a Schedule I or Schedule II drug, it is not illegal to drive, operate or physical control a motor vehicle with the prescription in your system.
Sounds pretty straightforward, right? Well here comes the tricky part. Even if you have a valid prescription, you can still earn a DWI if the state can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the prescription is impairing your ability to drive safely. So in essence, it’s illegal to drive with certain medications in your system, but it’s okay if you have a prescription for them, but it’s illegal if that prescription medication affects your ability to drive safely.
Avoiding A Prescription Drug DUI
So while it can be a little confusing, there are plenty of ways you can avoid a prescription drug DUI in Minnesota. For starters, don’t get behind the wheel until you know how your medications will affect you. Even if you’re familiar with the drug, read the instructions on the label and avoid driving until it is safe to do so. Also, be sure that you don’t mix medications or take your prescription with alcohol, as these two activities can compound the effects of the drug and inhibit your ability to drive safely.
Finally, if you’ve been arrested and charged with driving under the influence of prescription drugs, be sure to seek out the advice of a criminal defense attorney. If you took the drugs unknowingly or didn’t realize how they might affect you, there’s a chance we can get the charges reduced or dropped. To learn more about how we can help, feel free to reach out to set up a free strategy session where you can sit down with a lawyer and go over your case, free of charge. To set that up, call our office at (952) 224-2277.