Far too many people mistakenly believe that driving under the influence (DUI) charges in Florida only result from alcohol consumption or the use of illegal street drugs. A frightening number of drivers assume that prescribed or recommended medications will not result in a DUI or drugged driving charge.
However, any medication that you take, even legally, that could impair your driving can result in criminal charges. Examples of potentially problematic medications include painkillers, allergy drugs, sleep medication and many more. It’s important to understand how law enforcement will view certain medications, as well as how those medications affect your driving ability before you get behind the wheel while under the influence of a prescribed drug.
If your prescription has a driving warning, listen to it
Many drugs, including allergy medications and narcotic painkillers, come with a special warning label that indicates there is a potential for impaired driving after you consume the drug. Any warning label on a medication that addresses impaired driving or difficulty operating machinery should be carefully followed.
Do not put yourself or other people at risk by getting behind the wheel after taking a medication that can cause drowsiness or impaired cognition. Even if you have documentation that your doctor should prescribe the medication, law enforcement could arrest you even if you don’t cause an accident or other kind of traffic issue.
Proving that you have taken the drugs and gotten behind the wheel is relatively easy with chemical testing. Chances are good that you could face conviction, even if you did everything exactly as your doctor ordered.
You can’t drive while under the influence of medical marijuana
This warning about drugged driving is also true for medical marijuana patients in Florida. Simply having a recommendation from your doctor to use medical marijuana does not exempt you from potential drugged driving charges.
Law enforcement may be overtly hostile to any driver, even those with serious medical conditions, who acknowledges using medical marijuana. Just because you can’t face prosecution for possessing and consuming marijuana does not mean you won’t face charges for driving after using it.
Drugged driving allegations require robust defense efforts
The consequences for drunk driving allegations can be serious, including jail time, large fines and the loss of your license. There’s also the concern about how a criminal conviction will impact your professional career and personal life.
Instead of pleading guilty to avoid the embarrassment of a trial, you may want to carefully explore options for building a defense against the potential charges. There are many potential criminal defense strategies that can help you during drugged driving proceedings. Educating yourself about Florida’s laws and your rights is a critical first step to standing up for yourself if you face allegations of drugged driving.