William Long Whitesell, L.L.C. - Valdosta Lawyers
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Driving under the influence of medical drugs: is it crime?

Most Georgia residents will need medication at some point in their lifetime. Whether you take prescription medication for a chronic condition or over-the-counter cold medicine, you should always be on the lookout for negative side effects.

If you currently take medication, check the warnings on the label. Does it tell you to avoid operating motor vehicles and heavy machinery while using the drug? The label probably has a good reason for this restriction. Among other serious consequences, driving while on that medicine could get you in trouble with the law.

Prescriptions are the same as any illegal substance when it comes to DUI charges. Certain medications can make you sleepy, therefore less alert to the road. You may also have slower reaction times to unexpected dangers. These side effects place you and those around you at risk of a severe crash.

An officer might suspect that you are impaired somehow if you swerve or begin to drive off the road, for example. When they pull you over, they might first try a breathalyzer test. When that fails, they might suspect that you used illegal drugs, even if you admit to medication side effects, and require you to take further testing. However, you have a right to refuse tests, although you face at least a year of license suspension as a result. After testing, the police will give you an opportunity to speak with an attorney.

Although medication-related DUIs are punished in a similar way to illegal substances, your defense may be different. For example, you could be on a new medication that your doctor said rarely causes fatigue, but your body responded poorly. While it’s important to check side effects of your medications before driving, people who face this kind of DUI often didn’t realize that they could have ever committed a crime.

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