Can I Get a DUI From Prescription Drugs?

“But my doctor gave me this! How can I be under arrest for driving!? It’s medicine!”

Many people believe a DUI in Montana is something that comes as a result of drinking and driving. While this is obviously true, there’s a big misconception about DUI charges.

Can you get a DUI for driving while taking legal prescription medications prescribed to you by a doctor?

The answer to this is YES you can.


So, what is a DUI?

The crime of DUI in Montana means operating a motor vehicle while your ability to do so was impaired by a drug. Alcohol is a type of drug, but prescriptions are obviously drugs too, and they count in a DUI.

Drug(s) may be alcohol, it may be illegal drugs, it may be legal drugs, or any combination thereof.

The amounts of legal and illegal drugs are not always the main factor in determining guilt. Your ability to safely operate your vehicle is the key. That can be affected by legal drugs that your doctor has prescribed you.



Prescription Medications That May Contribute to DUI

Nearly 1.5 million adults are hospitalized every year after suffering from serious adverse effects due to the medications they were prescribed.

Common side effects of prescription medications to watch out for include:

  • Dizzy or drowsy
  • Nauseous
  • Blurry vision
  • Slow reaction times
  • Fainting or loss of consciousness
  • Impaired cognitive function

Sleeping pills, anti-anxiety medications, blood thinners, insulin, and other common prescriptions can all include these side effects. Use your medication as directed and when in doubt, don’t drive.

Remember, because a doctor prescribed you a medication does not mean that you are safe to drive on it. In addition, sometimes taking several medications can result in a side effect that was not anticipated. The end result could mean criminal charges for you.

Any drug you take must not affect your ability to safely operate a motor vehicle – even over the counter medications like cold medicine or allergy pills.


Fighting your DUI charge

An experienced DUI defense attorney like the team at the Judnich Law Office can help you fight any DUI charge, including a DUI caused by a prescription medication.

As part of your defense, our lawyers will work with your doctors. We’ll also closely examine any testing results. We want to determine if in fact any chemicals taken would have affected your ability to drive safely.

As part of your defense, we’ll also search for other explanations that could be the reason an officer believes you are impaired by drugs.

This is a very sophisticated subsection of DUI prosecution. Anyone accused of a DUI based on any type of drug should ensure they research and hire only the best attorneys that have actual experience in these areas and know how to properly defend and win these cases.


Get a free & confidential consultation

If you’re arrested for DUI and want premier advice on how to navigate the complicated criminal justice system, let’s talk. Contact the Judnich Law Office or call (406) 721-3354 for a free consultation about your DUI case.


Watch and learn more DUI myths


Keep learning about Montana DUI laws on our blog