Driving Drunk and Driving Under the Influence of Drugs are Treated the Same

Law Firm Newswire



Lakeland, FL (Law Firm Newswire) June 18, 2015 – Distracted driving comes in many forms. The law views two of those distractions the same: drunk driving and driving under the influence of drugs.

The difficulty with taking prescription medications and driving is that many people do not realize their cognitive abilities may have become impaired. Others do not believe the warnings printed on medications about not driving when taking various medications. For whatever reasons, people just do not regard driving while under the influence of prescription medication(s) to be the same as DWI.

According to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) 2007 roadside survey, over 16 percent of weekend drivers, tested positive for OTC, prescription or illegal drugs. Furthermore, a 2009 NHTSA study showed 18 percent of drivers killed in accidents tested positive for at least one prescription, OTC or illicit drug.

“The key to arrests in this area is appearing to be visually impaired,” Thomas C. Grajek, a Lakeland, Florida, criminal defense attorney explains. “Even if an individual tests below the legal limit for medication(s), they may still be charged if the driver seems to be visually impaired. Many prosecutors tend to seek the toughest penalties possible for cases such as this.”

What a large number of people do not realize is that taking prescription medications may have some unwanted side effects should they choose drive after taking their medicine(s). It may be an honest mistake on their part to drive after taking medications that may affect their driving. However, whether or not it is an honest mistake, those caught driving under the influence of prescription drugs may face the same penalties as if they were driving under the influence of alcohol.

For those arrested while driving under the influence of a prescription medication the best defense is a good offense. Contact a reputable criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to discuss the case. “Under no circumstances offer your thoughts about your situation or condition to the police. It only comes back to haunt you later,” adds Grajek.

No matter what the reason may be for taking prescription drugs and driving, the fact is that the law has been broken and it is difficult to deal with charges of this nature. “A capable defense attorney has the option of contesting an officer’s assessment that you appeared visually impaired. They are not medical professionals and their assessment is only an opinion and not a medical fact,” Grajek points out.