Should I avoid driving when under medication? 45 Answers as of June 02, 2013

I am currently taking medication. Should I avoid driving when under medication? What are the criteria of driving under the influence? What are the things the officers look for when they flag a possible "DUI" case? My work is quite far from my home and I need to drive everyday. However, I am asked to take a prescription drug for two months.

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Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC
Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC | Jacob Peter Sartz IV
I would recommend avoiding driving if the mediation impairs your ability to operate a motor-vehicle. A person may be charged with reckless driving, a misdemeanor punishable by up to 93 days in jail, potentially if they are driving in an impaired state from their legally prescribed medication.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 6/11/2012
Law Office of Phillip Weiser
Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
Prescription drugs can cause you to be impaired and thus DUI, so you should be very cautious of driving when under the influence of these type of drugs.
Answer Applies to: Kansas
Replied: 3/16/2012
Law Office of Richard Williams
Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
I would talk with your doctor who prescribed the medication to see if the drugs have side effects that should limit or eliminate your ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. Perhaps other drugs could be prescribed that would have no effect on your driving ability. The law makes no distinction between being under the effects of alcohol or legal or illegal drugs. If you are impaired to the extent you are not able to safely operated a motor vehicle do not do so. If you do you could be arrested and convicted.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 3/16/2012
Law Office of Brian K. Wanerman
Law Office of Brian K. Wanerman | Brian K. Wanerman
Read the warnings on the label/box. If it says not to drive or even to be cautious when driving after taking the medication, I would not drive after taking it. Contact the physician who recommended you take it or prescribed it and ask him if the medication has side effects. In California, the DUI laws cover any "intoxicating" substance. This means any substance that can impair the judgment you need to safely operate a motor vehicle. In most cases this intoxicating substance is alcohol. But, it can be anything, even prescription or over-the-counter medication. The only DUI law that crerates a presumption of impairment is the one concerning driving with a blood alcohol content equal to or greater than .08%. There's no equivalent law for other substances. But, any substance suffices under a regular DUI charge. The prosecution will have to prove your judgment was impaired. But, often, that is not difficult, especially if you were driving erratically. If you've been charged or think you will be, you should consult an attorney.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 3/15/2012
Freeborn Law Offices, P.S.
Freeborn Law Offices, P.S. | Steve Freeborn
If the medication you take affects your ability to effectively operate a motor vehicle, then do not drive. Even if the medication you take has been legally prescribed, if you are under the influence of that drug and your operation of the motor vehicle is effected by that medication, yes, you can be charged with DUI.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 3/14/2012
    Law Office of Jared Altman
    Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
    If the drug impairs your ability to drive then you could get charged. That's about it.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 3/14/2012
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
    When taking a prescription medicine you should ask if there are any restrictions on your actives before taking it. Some have limits like not working with or around heavy equipment or driving within a certain time after taking it. If the limits were not told to you then contact your doctor for that information. The police when pulling over a suspected DUI look for driving that is not normal. This includes weaving within your lane, driving to slow, drifting from one lane to the other. The same type of driving you would do if you were falling asleep.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/14/2012
    Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law
    Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law | Thomas J. Tomko
    In Michigan there is an offense for driving under the influence of drugs. Even if prescribed, you could be charged. So to the extent that you are under the influence, you could be charged. If the prescribed use of medication impairs your ability to drive, then yes, you should avoid driving while using the medication.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 3/14/2012
    Hynum Law Office, LLC
    Hynum Law Office, LLC | G. Wayne Hynum
    You should ask your doctor whether its safe to drive while taking that medication. Also the printed information that comes with the prescription may say that you should not operate cars or heavy machinery while taking the drug. If the medication makes you feel light headed or intoxicated, or if it makes you appear to be intoxicated, you are at risk for being charged with DUI other substance.
    Answer Applies to: Mississippi
    Replied: 3/14/2012
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly | Brendan M. Kelly
    You really need to discuss this with the Doctor who put you on the medication.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 3/14/2012
    Law Offices of George Woodworth & Associates
    Law Offices of George Woodworth & Associates | George Woodworth
    Yes, if the medication impairs your driving. That is what a police officer will be looking for to determine if you are a possible "DUI." He'll be looking for any weaving, going too slow for the conditions, unsafe lane changes, cutting off other drivers, inattentiveness to signals, signs, road control warnings etc. You may want to find another way to work if you are in any way in danger of calling attention to yourself as in the above.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/14/2012
    Law Offices of John Carney
    Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
    If the drug makes you sleepy, drowsy, or effects your motor coordination or driving ability you might get stopped for erratic driving. Do not admit that you are on any medication or have it in the car as that is evidence of DWI. Only you can determine if the drug effects you and if it does you should take alternate transportation or car pool. Getting a DWI will make your insurance rise dramatically and cost a lot more than taking a taxi or a bus.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 3/14/2012
    Anderson Law Office
    Anderson Law Office | Scott L. Anderson
    Yes, you should avoid driving if the medication affects your ability to drive properly. Driving under the influence includes drugs.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 3/14/2012
    Timothy J. Thill P.C.
    Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
    You need to discuss the contents of the medicine you are taking, and your doctor should be able to tell you if there are any scheduled control sunstances in the medicine. If the doctor tells you that these pills contain a controlled substance, and tells you you should not be driving, you should not drive while taking them. Find an alternative way to get to and from work. Police are looking for erractic driving, and your physical actions, along with the odor on your breath, your eyes, and of course, walking and standing and other physical activities you do in his presence, as well as your speech, and mind function, such as reciting the alphabetic backwards. If you feel light headed or buzzed, do not drive.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 3/14/2012
    Law & Mediation Office of Jeffrey L. Pollock, Esq.
    Law & Mediation Office of Jeffrey L. Pollock, Esq. | Jeffrey Lawrence Pollock
    Any drug, illegal or lawful that impairs your driving, can be the basis for "Driving Under the Influence."
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 3/14/2012
    Michael Breczinski
    Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
    If the medication makes you tired, high or woozey or affects your coordination then the answer is do not drive. Talk to your doctor about the medications side effects. Often there is a warning printed on the medication if it might affect your ability to drive or operate machinery. Follow the warning. Even if prescribed, if the medication affects your ability to drive you could be charged with Driving Under the Influence or DUI.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 3/14/2012
    H. Scott Basham, Attorney at Law, P.C. | H. Scott Basham
    If a legally prescribed drug makes it less safe for you to drive than when you are not taking it, then that is enough to support a conviction for DUI in Georgia. The same "less safe" rule applies to alcohol and illegal drugs, too.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 3/14/2012
    Lawrence Lewis
    Lawrence Lewis | Lawrence Lewis, PC
    If the prescription drug impairs your driving then you need to refrain from driving, PERIOD.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 3/14/2012
    Meadows & Howell, LLC
    Meadows & Howell, LLC | Brad Howell
    If the medication affects your ability to operate a vehicle, then you should avoid driving while under the influence of the medication for both legal and safety reasons. Even though a breathalyzer test would not indicate that prescription medication is in your system, the officer will observe a variety of your actions, including your driving behavior, your speech, your pupils, your coordination, etc.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 3/14/2012
    Quitmeier Law Firm, P.C.
    Quitmeier Law Firm, P.C. | William M. Quitmeier
    It depends on the type medication. You could possibly get arrested if you are taking narcotics.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 3/14/2012
    Mark Thiessen, Attorney at Law
    Mark Thiessen, Attorney at Law | Mark Thiessen
    You can absolutely get what is called a DWI with drugs through a Drug Recognition Evaluator. Best to never being on any medication and if it makes you feel funny do not drive.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 3/14/2012
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC | Timothy J. Klisz
    Talk to your doctor. They can advise you appropriately as to the medication and it's effects on driving.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 3/14/2012
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    This is a medical as well as legal problem. Generally, if you are impaired by the use of any substance, legal our not, you should not be driving.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 3/14/2012
    Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law
    Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law | Charles M. Schiff
    It may depend upon the prescription drug involved. In Minnesota, if any amount of a Schedule I or II drug is found in your system, you have violated the DUI statute. If the drug you are taking is another schedule, the state must prove "under the influence". This involves observation of your conduct and coordination. The state needs to prove to a "trier of fact" that you are/were under the influence of the substance you were taking.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 3/14/2012
    Glass Defense Firm
    Glass Defense Firm | Jason M. Glass
    It varies by officer as to what they look for in any DUI case. Most of the things are normal traffic violations, i.e. speeding, an improper turn. Other clues are swerving or weaving. As for the prescription medication, you can be charged with a DUI even if you have a prescription if the drug impairs you while you are operating your vehicle.
    Answer Applies to: West Virginia
    Replied: 3/14/2012
    Pingelton Law Firm | Dan Pingelton
    It depends on what kind of medication you are taking. Ask your doctor or pharmacist and then follow their advice.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 3/14/2012
    Anderson Walsh PLLC
    Anderson Walsh PLLC | STACI LYNN ANDERSON
    You can be charged for driving under the influence of any intoxicating substance, this includes prescription medication. You should read the literature that came with your medication and consult with your doctor. Perhaps you can take the medication on a schedule which will enable you to drive to and from work while not feeling the intoxicating effects? If your driving is negatively affected and the officer thinks that you are impaired, he or she can, and likely will, arrest you for driving while under the influence. The same could occur if you were pulled over for having a cracked taillight.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 9/20/2012
    Law Office of Edward J. Blum
    Law Office of Edward J. Blum | Edward J. Blum
    If the medication impairs your ability to drive, you should not drive after you take the medication.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/13/2012
    The Law Office of Stephanie M. Arrache
    The Law Office of Stephanie M. Arrache | Stephanie Arrache
    It depends on the drug and any instructions your doctor gave you. Drugs in your system, even legal ones can cause you to get arrested for DUI if they impair your ability to drive.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/13/2012
    Miller & Harrison, LLC
    Miller & Harrison, LLC | David Harrison
    It is illegal to drive while medicated if that medication affects your ability to drive.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 3/13/2012
    Nelson & Lawless
    Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
    You can be charged and convicted of DUI if under the influence of ANY substance, legal or not, and your driving is impaired. That is in the officer?s opinion, based upon his observations of your driving and performance on a Field Sobriety Check once you are stopped. You could be stopped for a broken taillight. Don't drive if it affects you noticeably. Most drugs that will do so have a warning label about driving.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/13/2012
    Andersen Law PLLC
    Andersen Law PLLC | Craig Andersen
    What is the medication? What does your doctor say? What do the bottle warnings say? I can't tell you whether you should or not because you have given me no idea of what you are taking. I am also not a medical doctor. I don't have any training in pharmacology. The only advice I can give you, based on the imprecise question you pose is this-In general, it is a bad idea to drink and drive. It is illegal to drive a motor vehicle at all if your medication impairs your ability to operate a motor vehicle. It doesn't matter if the drug is prescribed or illegal; if it sedates you, confuses you, reduces your response time, diminishes your coordination or motor skills, you should not drive. If we're talking about a medication that doesn't have any side effects, such as an antacid, you are probably alright.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 3/13/2012
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    Yes, you could face VC 23152(a), a drug-related DUI. You can keep driving, just remember the following: 1) FSTs are voluntary, and you should never do them. They are designed for even a sober person to fail. 2) Exercise your right to remain silent. Never speak to police, especially when you are pulled over. Give your name and license and that's it. Let them arrest you if they wish. 3) Once you are at the station, choose a blood or urine test. Again, don't say a word.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/13/2012
    The Rogers Law Firm
    The Rogers Law Firm | Andrea Storey Rogers
    You can be charged with DUID (Driving Under the Influence of Drugs) for any amount of drugs found in your system. There is no legal limit (like there is for a DWI for alcohol). If your driving is impaired because of the drugs you are taking, then you should not be driving and you could be pulled over and charged with DUID. Ask your doctor who prescribed your medication whether the medication will affect your driving or if he or she believes you should not drive while taking it. The police officer can test your breath, blood, urine, or saliva if he believes you may be under the influence of drugs. It doesn't matter if the drugs are legal, illegal, prescribed, or non-prescription.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 3/13/2012
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law | Gregory Casale
    I cannot tell you how to deal with it, but I can tell you that if your medication says not to operate a motor vehicle while you are taking it, then you could face OUI.DWI/DUI charges if caught driving while on the medication. Check with your doctor or pharmacist. While most pain medications warn of operating machinery while on the meds, it also depends on the dosage and tolerance level of each individual. The law says that if your "ability to drive safely is impaired" then you are guilty of OUI/DWI/DUI.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 3/13/2012
    Dunnings Law Firm
    Dunnings Law Firm | Steven Dunnings
    Yes.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/2/2013
    Ellman and Ellman PC
    Ellman and Ellman PC | Kevin Ellmann
    You CAN get a DUI for driving under the influence of prescription medication. Cops will look for any reason to pull you over (ie. weaving, driving w/o headlights, speeding, driving too slow, failure to use a signal, etc) and then seek to establish a DUI case. If you must drive, make sure you are safe to drive first and foremost - and then take side roads if possible and obey all traffic laws.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 3/13/2012
    Harris Law Firm
    Harris Law Firm | Jennifer C. Robins
    You can be charged and possibly convicted for a DUI for your own prescription medication. I would recommend you take the medication at night after you have stopped driving. Some medications, like narcotics or Ambien, can cause someone to drive impaired and that is what a DUI is. Once you know how the medication affects you, you should be able to determine whether you can drive after taking it.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 3/13/2012
    The Short Law Group, P.C.
    The Short Law Group, P.C. | Shawn Kollie
    Although a DUI in Oregon can be charged for prescription medications, a skilled DUI Lawyer may help to fight the 'prescription pill DUI' under the current Oregon case law. These cases are usually charged because a Drug Recognition Expert officer completes test believing you to be under the influence, and this is verified with a blood/urine test. Although these types of cases are complex, there is no reason to not fight with the help of a DUI Lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 3/13/2012
    DeVito & Visconti, PA
    DeVito & Visconti, PA | John E DeVito
    In Massachusetts you can be convicted of OUI while on prescription medication if you know that it is not appropriate to operate a motor vehicle or other machinery while taking the medication. You should know this because your doctor told you or because there was a warning label on the prescription bottle. If the medication states that alcohol can intensify the effects of the medication, you should not drink while on the medication and drive. Consult with your doctor to get the answer on your ability to drive while on the medication. The standard for OUI in Massachusetts is that alcohol dimimished your ability to drive a car safely. If medication does that you can be convicted. Police will look for all signs and symptoms that suggest you are impaired and cannot operate a vehicle safely.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 3/13/2012
    The Law Offices of Victor J Mazzaraco
    The Law Offices of Victor J Mazzaraco | Victor J Mazzaraco
    Look, regardless of the legal ramifications you have to think about your safety and the safety of other. If the meds are making you woozy you shouldn't drive regardless of a DUI.Especially if it's a long commute. But to your question: A DUI includes impairment from alcohol or drugs or a combination of the 2. And prescription drugs count. Cops look for weaving, no headlights, sporadic starting and stopping.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/13/2012
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