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Can I Get a DUI After Using My Own Prescription Medication?

Posted on in DUI/DWI

Anderson County DUI Defense attorneyIn Tennessee, driving under the influence of any drug is illegal, whether the drug was prescribed to you or not. Being prescribed a medication makes it legal for you to possess and use that medication according to your doctor’s instructions, but you could still find yourself charged with a DUI if you drive after taking it. In fact, Tennessee law explicitly states that having a valid prescription is no defense to a DUI. If you are facing DUI charges, whether it is your first DUI or a second or subsequent DUI, you will want an experienced criminal defense attorney to protect your rights and fight for a good outcome in your case. 

What Prescription Drugs Could Lead to a DUI Charge? 

A number of prescription medications can impact your ability to drive safely - and legally. If you are prescribed any of these drugs, you will need to be careful to avoid driving while you are under their influence. Even some medications you do not think of as a narcotic can lead to a DUI charge in Tennessee if they affect your mental state. You could face DUI charges after taking: 

  • Narcotic Painkillers - This category is fairly clear - prescription pain medications like Oxycodone and Dilaudid impair your ability to drive, and you will get a DUI if you drive after taking them.

  • Benzodiazepines - Drugs like Xanax or Klonopin, commonly used to treat anxiety, also slow reaction times and make it unsafe to drive. 

  • Medical Marijuana - Even if you have your medical marijuana card and are using THC products legally, you can still get a DUI if you drive while under their influence. 

  • Sleeping Medications - Drugs like Ambien or Trazadone act as central nervous system depressants. This helps patients sleep, but also impairs driving ability, which in Tennessee can lead to a DUI. 

Any other substance that induces drowsiness or dizziness, impairs vision or reaction time, or otherwise affects a person’s mental state can be used to show that you were driving under the influence. The main problem with prescription drug-related DUI cases is that there is no easy way to measure whether you were actually being affected by the drug. In alcohol-related DUI’s, blood alcohol content is easily measured - over 0.08%, and you are clearly under the influence. No such test or standard is available for prescription drugs, making these cases particularly challenging. 

Talk to a Knox County DUI Defense Attorney 

If you have been charged with a DUI after using a medication you were prescribed, you will need an experienced attorney to fight for you and give you the best chances of avoiding a harsh sentence. The Law Office of William F. Evans has a proven track record of successfully defending clients in DUI cases. Call a Knoxville DUI defense attorney at 423-449-7980 today for a free and confidential consultation. 



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