Arrested for DUI while on prescription medication

Arrested for DUI while on prescription medication

A surprising amount of drivers are arrested for Las Vegas DUI of Prescription Medicine. Many police officers are being trained to become drug recognition experts because this is such a growing problem and drugged drivers are sometimes more difficult to spot then drunk drivers. There seems to be a large misconception among the general public that believes you are not breaking the law while driving on certain drugs as long as they were legally prescribed for you. Sadly, the public is mistaken. People, in greater and greater numbers, are arrested for driving after taking painkillers and sometimes some psycho-tropic medicine. Remember, you are not charged with illegally possessing the drugs. You are being charged with driving with your ability impaired. You are behind the wheel of a vehicle and you have these drugs in your blood stream.

If you MUST drive, leave the bottle at home.

The quantitative threshold for these medicines is typically very low. By state law, it can be as low as 50 nanograms per mililiter of blood. Basically, you can take pain meds last night and possibly be over the legal limit the next morning even though you do not feel impaired. Common pain medicines are oxycontin, oxycodone and hydrocodone. These drugs are sometimes known under the names Percoset, Loritab or Norco. You should not take these medicines if you need to drive. If you must drive (we strongly advise against it. Consider calling a friend or taking an Uber or Lyft instead), never have the pill bottles in your car, purse or pocket. It will just hasten your arrest for a DUI.

Concerning psycho-tropic meds such as Xanax or Klonopin, if your levels are above the therapeutic range, you may also be arrested for a DUI. However with either type of drugs, the arresting officer will not know your levels and will often take you into custody just to be safe. Most blood labs take 3-6 months to return the results, so the policeman will often base the arrest on other factors. Some of those are his observations of you physical appearance, such as watery bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, unkempt clothes, problems balancing, walking and finding your license and paperwork. The officer will usually ask you to perform several field sobriety tests such as Walk and Turn and One Leg Stand. You may be in custody in jail for several days before you either are released or bail out.

The bottom line is that if you need to take these medicines, you should not be driving until most or all of it has cleared out of your system. Sadly, there is no definitive way to determine when an individual reaches a safe point to drive after taking certain medications. Metabolism, liver functionality and time are factors in this equation. Use your best judgement and always err on the side of caution. A full day of 24 hours is likely a safe amount of time to wait before driving.

Contact Craig P. Kenny and Associates immediately following your prescription drug DUI.

If you or someone you know has been charged with a Nevada DUI, including Las Vegas Alcohol DUI and Las Vegas Marijuana DUI, or perhaps you’ve been injured in a DUI accident, please contact our Las Vegas Personal Injury Lawyer at 702-380-2800 immediately to discuss your options.


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