Drivers may feel like they are in a unique situation if they face charges for a DUI in Clayton when they did not drink alcohol. They might think that the law enforcement officer made a mistake with the arrest. However, authorities can charge a driver with a DUI if he or she took narcotics, medicine or an over-the-counter drug and suffered impairment while behind the wheel.
It is illegal for anyone to operate a motor vehicle while impaired by a substance. Although the most common reasons people receive DUI charges involve alcohol use, the number of prescription-related DUI offenders apprehended each day is increasing. Many people who drive while experiencing the side effects of medications do not realize the legal consequences they could face.
Medicated driving is just as dangerous as driving drunk
Some people do not realize that their medicines can compromise their safety when they are on the roads. Some drugs, such as muscle relaxers, pain relievers and sleep aids cause side effects that alter cognitive and physical functions. Some of the side effects that certain medications produce cause drivers to become distracted and drive as if they are drunk. They are more likely to crash their vehicles and resort to risky behaviors that endanger other motorists and their passengers.
Drivers who ignore the warnings on their medications and fail to take into consideration that they are not in a condition to drive safely risk getting criminal records. Prescription-related DUI charges carry the same penalties as alcohol-related charges. Individuals should not assume that they can beat their charges by showing a prescription. The law is very clear as to how it applies to impaired drivers.
People who rely on medication to manage their health and are dealing with a DUI charge should not take their situation lightly. A proper defense strategy may help them to get a lighter sentence and prevent a criminal record. An attorney might be able to provide guidance about options for reducing the effects of this type of charge.