Prescription Medications and DUI in Asheville

You’ve probably heard that driving under the influence of alcohol is dangerous and illegal. But did you know that driving while impaired by prescription pills can also get you a DUI? Even if it’s a medication prescribed by your doctor, it is still against the law to drive. In this blog post, we’ll break down the facts on prescription medication  and DUI in Asheville – what drugs can cause impairment and how police test for it.

Common Signs of Impairment Caused by Prescription Drugs

If pulled over, the officer will be on high alert for signs you’re under the influence of prescription meds. Things like seeming drowsy or confused, slurred speech, or lack of coordination could land you in hot water.

Your reactions may be slower, making it hard to answer questions quickly or follow instructions. Strange behavior or droopy, red eyes are also dead giveaways. Many prescription drugs, especially opioids and benzodiazepines, can impair your ability to drive safely, even when taken as directed.

The effects of different drugs vary, but in general, if you feel drowsy, dizzy, or unlike yourself after taking medication, don’t get behind the wheel. It is not worth risking an accident or DUI. Play it safe – call a friend for a ride instead. Your health and safety should be top priority.

Probable Cause in a DUI for Prescription Medications

The way prescription medications impact your driving ability depends on various factors. Some people may take their medication and drive safely, while others experience impaired coordination or judgment. An experienced Asheville DUI attorney knows prosecutors must show probable cause to pull you over and test your blood if your BAC is 0 or legal.

How you perform field sobriety tests provides probable cause. The officer may suspect impairment if you can’t follow instructions or walk a straight line. However, some disabilities or injuries can also affect your performance, so don’t assume failing these tests means you’re guilty.

prescription pills can lead to a DUI charge, like alcohol

Whether you took the medication as prescribed is a factor. If you took a higher dose than prescribed or mixed medications against medical advice, it indicates you may have been impaired while driving. However, merely taking medication as prescribed does not prove you were unsafe to drive.

Prescription Medication and DUI Sobriety Tests

If an officer suspects you are driving under the influence of prescription medication, they may conduct field sobriety tests to determine if your driving ability is impaired. These tests evaluate motor skills, balance, coordination, and cognitive ability. Some common tests include:

The walk-and-turn test requires you to take nine heel-to-toe steps along a straight line, turn, and take nine heel-to-toe steps back. The officer looks for signs like swaying, using arms for balance, stepping off the line, or making an improper turn. The one-leg stand test asks you to stand on one leg with your arms at your sides for 30 seconds. Losing your balance, swaying, or hopping are considered signs of impairment.

Finger-to-nose and thumb-to-finger tests have you touch your nose and the tip of your thumb with the tip of your index finger to assess eye-hand coordination and balance. Difficulty or failure to smoothly and accurately complete these maneuvers may indicate your ability to drive safely is compromised by the effects of prescription drugs.

Getting in Touch With an Asheville DUI Attorney

If charged with a DWI in Asheville for prescription medications, finding an experienced attorney is critical. These charges are serious, carrying the same penalties as alcohol-related DUIs. A conviction can mean license suspension, fines, or even jail time.

An Asheville DUI lawyer can review the details of your case for free and determine the best way to fight the charges. They know North Carolina’s DUI laws inside and out, including the complexities involved with prescription medications. With their help, you have the best chance of getting the charges reduced or dropped completely.

Don’t delay—call us at 828-759-5556 as soon as possible after being charged.

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