When you take a prescription medication, you may feel like you are following doctor's orders and sticking to a necessary treatment plan for your ailment. You may think only of the positive outcomes your medication will have and not negative consequences. In fact, you may not even consider the possibility that criminal charges could result from simply taking your medicine.
You may not believe you have done anything against the law because your doctor provided you with a valid prescription and instructions, which you followed exactly. However, if your medication causes side effects, even ones you consider minor, you could wind up charged with DUI if those side effects affect your driving ability.
Legal drug impairment
Even if you have taken a legal drug for which you have a valid need and prescription, the medication could still lead to impairment. Some of the side effects that could negatively affect your driving ability include the following:
- Reduced reaction time
- Blurred vision
- Decreased focus
Even if you do not fully notice these effects, they could still affect your driving ability. You may not realize that your reaction times have slowed or that your abilities are otherwise impaired until it is too late and an accident or near-accident occurs.
If a police officer notices that you are having trouble operating your vehicle, that you almost caused an accident or has other reasonable suspicion to stop your vehicle, you could find yourself in a serious predicament. At first, you may not know why the officer pulled you over, but after a few questions or observations of your behavior, the officer may suspect that you are impaired. Even if you indicate that you have taken a legal, prescription medication, you could still face criminal charges.
Understandably, you may feel shocked by an arrest and criminal charges. After all, you consider yourself a law-abiding citizen. Nonetheless, you now face the ordeal of handling a DUI charge. Fortunately, you do not have to try to work through this process alone. An experienced attorney could help you understand what the charges mean and assist you in creating a meaningful defense. A charge does not automatically mean you are guilty, and keeping that fact in mind may help put you more at ease as your case proceeds.