Despite popular belief, an officer can arrest and charge you for driving under the influence if you took a prescription medication before getting behind the wheel. If the officer has evidence to back the charges, you face a DUI conviction. How is this possible, you may wonder? Louisiana designed its DUI laws in such a way as to outlaw all forms of impaired driving and not just impairment because of illegal drugs or alcohol. This is because impaired driving, regardless of the cause, compromises the safety of the impaired and others on the road. FindLaw explains the elements of a DUI and how driving on prescription medications can reduce your abilities to control the vehicle.

For an officer to be able to arrest and charge you for a DUI or DWI in any state, two elements must exist. The first is that you must have been driving on a public road. The second is that you were under the influence of alcohol or any controlled or legal substance. “Under the influence” means a drug, alcoholic beverage or combination of the two affected your ability to operate a vehicle safely to any degree.

Prescription drugs, like alcohol or controlled substances, can cause adverse side effects that may hinder your motor skills, coordination or judgment. This is the case even when you take said drug in prescribed doses. Some common effects of prescription medications include the following:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Nausea
  • Inability to focus
  • Slowed reaction time

Though none of these side effects are particularly dangerous on their own, when they occur when you are behind the wheel of a moving vehicle, they can be perilous or downright deadly. Unfortunately, because of the dangerous nature of driving under the influence, the penalties associated with a prescription drug DUI charge are the same as any other DUI.

The contents of this article are designed to inform. This article should not be taken as legal advice.