Prescription Drugs and DUI: What Should Every Nevada Driver Know?

Driving under the influence (DUI) isn’t always a result of consuming too much alcohol. You can also be charged with DUI if your driving is impaired by a drug your doctor has prescribed. If you are charged with DUI in this situation, you must reach out to a Las Vegas DUI attorney at once.

Knowing how your prescription medication – or any combination of medications – affects your driving ability is an important safety measure. Some prescription drugs may affect your driving only briefly, but the effects of other drugs can last for hours or even into the following day.

Talk to your doctor about driving while using any drug that has been prescribed for you. Your doctor may be able to change your dosage or how often you take the medicine. In some cases, your doctor may be able to switch medicines and prescribe one that does not affect your driving.

What Does the Law Say About DUI and Prescription Drugs?

Before using a prescription drug, heed the warnings on the packaging. If any drug impairs your ability to drive, you may be convicted of DUI in Nevada even if your medication is a valid and lawful prescription and even if you did not use any unlawful drugs or consume any alcohol.

Unlike driving under the influence charges based on alcohol, there is no measurable “legal limit” for prescription drugs. You could be arrested and charged with DUI with only the slightest amount of a prescribed substance in your bloodstream while you were behind the wheel.

What Prescription Drugs Are Typically Involved in DUI Cases?

Perhaps the most frequently prescribed drugs involved in driving under the influence cases are the narcotic analgesics that are commonly used for back injuries, accident-related injuries, and dental pain. These drugs include hydrocodone, oxycontin, codeine, and morphine.

In recent years, many driving under the influence cases have also involved sedative-hypnotics commonly known as sleeping pills. These include popular prescriptions such as Ambien and Lunestra. These drugs “depress” or slow bodily functions, and thus may cause impaired driving.

Antihistamines relieve many allergies, including hay fever. However, antihistamines may also impair your driving ability, slow your reaction time, and make focusing or clear thinking difficult. Always avoid combining any amount of alcohol with any other drug before driving.

What Are the Penalties if You Are Convicted of DUI?

A first conviction for driving under the influence in the State of Nevada may be penalized with a fine, a mandatory jail sentence (at least two days and up to six months), community service, counseling, a driver’s license revocation, and mandatory attendance at a victim impact panel.

Drivers should understand that these are the usual penalties for a first DUI conviction that did not involve an accident or injuries. Subsequent charges and convictions that involve an accident or injuries are penalized more severely, and a third DUI offense in Nevada is charged as a felony.

But whether it’s your first misdemeanor DUI offense or a more serious felony charge, if you are placed under arrest in Nevada for driving under the influence, you’re going to need an attorney’s help. You must get in touch with a Las Vegas DUI lawyer at the earliest possible opportunity.

What Else Should You Know About Prescription Drugs and DUI?

If you are currently taking any kind of medication that could impair your ability to drive, it’s better not to drive at all. Don’t let a prescription medication be the reason you are charged with or convicted of driving under the influence.

If you are facing a prescription drug-related DUI charge in or near Las Vegas, it’s like any other criminal charge. When you are taken into custody, be courteous to the police officers, but insist on your rights.

You have the right to remain silent, and you have the right to consult a Las Vegas DUI attorney before you answer any questions. You can simply say to the police something such as “I would prefer to answer no questions until my lawyer is present,” and then say nothing more.

What Will Your Lawyer Do on Your Behalf?

In any criminal case, a defense attorney’s typical first step is seeking to have the charge dropped or the case dismissed. If neither option is available, you may be given the opportunity to plead guilty to a lesser charge, but if you’re innocent, you should almost always insist on a jury trial.

There are a number of complicated scientific issues regarding the identification of drugs and their active ingredients. It is often difficult to determine whether a particular substance is active or inactive when a blood or urine test is conducted.

Moreover, each person has unique drug tolerances that substantially influence someone’s actual level of impairment. If your case goes to trial, the state may call a toxicology expert to testify regarding how a prescription medication may have impaired your driving.

At trial, your Las Vegas DUI lawyer will cast doubt on the state’s evidence against you, which may include the results of a blood or urine test, the testimony of a toxicology expert, or the testimony of the arresting officer, and your attorney will then ask the jury to find you not guilty.

Call Goodwin Law Group if You Are Charged With DUI

If you are placed under arrest in or near the Las Vegas area on a prescription drug-related DUI charge, contact Goodwin Law Group immediately to discuss your options and rights, the scientific and legal issues in your case, and your possible defense strategies.

As a member of the National College for DUI Defense, attorney Charles Goodwin focuses his legal practice on defending those who are accused of driving under the influence. He brings his considerable skills and experience to every driving under the influence case and every client.

When you contact Goodwin Law Group – by calling 702-819-8242 – you’ll be offered a no-cost, no-obligation, personalized evaluation of your case. Goodwin Law Group will defend you aggressively and effectively and will bring your DUI case to its best possible conclusion.