Can You Be Charged With a DUI While Driving on Prescription Drugs? | Wichita DUI Lawyers
When you think about Driving Under the Influence (DUI) charges, your mind most likely gravitates towards driving under the influence of alcohol or illegal substances, but did you know that you can also be charged with a DUI while on prescription drugs? While most DUI offenses in Kansas are alcohol-related, there have been an increasing amount of charges brought amongst drivers impaired due to legally prescribed medications. Our Wichita DUI lawyers at the McConnell Law Firm have years of experience defending against DUI charges and have detailed the specifics of driving while under the influence of prescription medications below!
What Constitutes a DUI?
Although legally prescribed, medications such as Xanax, muscle relaxers, anti-depressants, and even antihistamines, can lead to DUI charges if taken before operating a vehicle. While many motorists attempt to claim the legal defense of entitlement, insisting that the drugs were legally prescribed by a doctor, the legal framework for Kansas DUI charges revolves around a driver’s incapacity. Any chemical substance that renders you incapable of safely operating a vehicle will lead to your eventual charge. In order to convict an individual of driving under the influence, the prosecution will solely be required to prove the following, regardless of if the substances were prescribed or not:
- The driver operated or attempted to operate a vehicle.
- The driver was under the influence of a drug while operating or attempting to operate a vehicle.
- The influence of said substance rendered the driver incapable of safely operating the vehicle.
Circumstances of Impaired Driving
What is safe operation? Because different drugs affect drivers differently, there is no standardized consumption amount that will objectively lead to DUI charges. While many believe that your Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) is the only thing factoring into your ability to operate a vehicle, that is not entirely true. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cautions drivers against consuming any type of over-the-counter drug before operating a vehicle, including antihistamines, as these drugs can lead to slower reaction times and cause potential accidents. Some of the most common drug side effects impacting a motorist’s ability to safely drive include:
- Blurred vision
- Inability to concentrate
- Delayed reaction time
“In theory, if there is no alcohol in whatever you are consuming, you shouldn’t register on a BAC reading,” said Jonathan W. McConnell, founding Wichita DUI lawyer at the McConnell Law Firm. “NyQuil and things alike contain alcohol and could cause you to test positive, but it is important to also be careful about hand sanitizer and how close it is to a testing device because there are various things that contain trace amounts of alcohol that could potentially trigger a BAC reading on a breathalyzer test.”
Consequences of Drug-Related DUIs
In general, the penalties for driving under the influence of illegal and legal drugs will be treated identically. While each case is different and penalties will be based on a variety of different factors, if you are charged with a DUI in the state of Kansas, you may be facing a license suspension, fines, and jail time, which can lead to long term consequences such as issues finding employment, and increased automobile insurance rates. To help avoid the devastating repercussions of a DUI, our Wichita DUI lawyers at the McConnell Law Firm advise all drivers to never get in a vehicle if they have been drinking or under the influence of drugs, whether legally prescribed or not!
Have You Been Accused?
If you have been charged with a DUI, we encourage you to contact the McConnell Law Firm as soon as possible. While every case is different, and no conclusions should be drawn without first consulting a Wichita DUI lawyer about the specifics of your case, it is always in your best interest to have a skilled attorney by your side from the beginning.
Request a Free Consultation
Do you or a loved one need the assistance of one of our experienced Wichita DUI lawyers? We encourage you to contact the McConnell Law Firm at (316) 243-5903 for a free consultation.Contact Us
Jonathan W. McConnell and his team have become well-known for their expert knowledge and unmatched tenacity. They have been rated highly by the public and their peers on many prestigious legal directories and professional organizations.
McConnell has a Preeminent Attorney and Platinum Client Champion on the online legal directory, Martindale-Hubbell.
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