How Can Prescription Medications Affect DUI Field Tests?

The use of legal prescription medication can lead to failing DUI field tests. It can lead to your arrest and conviction for DUI, OUI or related offenses. Impaired driving is impaired driving whether the cause of the impairment is alcohol, illegal drugs or prescription medication.

This information about prescription medication and DUI field tests might save you from an arrest and conviction. If you’ve already been arrested and were on prescription medication, share the information with you DUI attorney. It might assist in your defense.

In this Drunk Drivers Rights article, we will discuss how taking prescription medications can affect DUI field sobriety tests.

Read Medication Labeling and Instructions

The best way to avoid a problem with prescription medications is to follow the directions you are given. If they say that you shouldn’t operate a vehicle or heavy equipment for a certain number of hours after taking the medication, then don’t!  At the very least, know how the medication will affect you before getting behind the wheel. Some medication is powerful and can seriously affect you motor skills, coordination, strength, judgment, response time and other factors related to your ability to safely drive a vehicle, a boat ,4-wheeler, etc.

Those side effects which make driving unsafe will also make it more difficult to pass a field sobriety test. These tests require balance, coordination, focus and other skills – all of which can be significantly impaired and lead to prescription medication DUI arrests across the country.

Some medication speeds up the absorption of alcohol into the system too, and you might become intoxicated by drinking a relatively small amount of alcohol.

Remember that field tests don’t measure blood alcohol content (BAC). They are designed specifically to determine whether or not you are physically fit at the moment to be operating a vehicle of any type.

Medications with Known Side Affects

There are many types of medications that DUI attorneys warn against mixing with driving.  These include sleeping pills such as Ambien, sedatives, stimulants, pain killers containing narcotics, cold and flu remedies that can increase drowsiness, allergy medications such as Benadryl that also increases drowsiness and certain medications used to treat diabetes.

Successful Defense Against a Prescription Medication DUI Charge

A skilled DUI lawyer will pursue one of these strategies in your defense. First, the field sobriety test should be challenged. It might be possible to demonstrate that the test does not adequately measure a person’s potential impairment.

The DUI attorney might be able to show that the person has an impairment that makes the test difficult to pass, even though the impairment does not make it unsafe for them to drive.

A strategy that often works is to evaluate the known side effects of the medication. If they do not list things such as drowsiness, loss of coordination or impaired judgment, the DUI lawyer will argue that the driver might not have been impaired.

The use of these methods by DUI attorneys is designed to show reasonable doubt that failing the field sobriety test demonstrated impaired driving.

The best defense against a DUI charge for prescription medications is to avoid driving when you are taking medication that can cause impairment. If you are arrested for DUI, hire a qualified DUI lawyer with experience defending against this type of case.