Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is commonly thought of as a charge a driver can get after they have consumed
alcohol before driving. Did you know that you can be charged with DWI
even if you have not had anything to drink? Any substance that has the
potential to impair your driving and prevent you from operating a vehicle
to the best of your ability can find you behind bars. Unfortunately, this
even includes prescription drugs that you are legally consuming at the
request of a licensed medical professional.
How a Prescription Drug Can Lead to a DWI Arrest
Under Missouri law, there is little to no differentiation between someone
driving under the influence of alcohol and someone driving under the influence
of drugs. This means that prescription drugs, and the impairment caused
by their use, can result in the same penalties of a driver accused of
driving while intoxicated by alcohol.
In order to prove DWI, law enforcement must show:
- A person controlled a motor vehicle while it was moving; and
- The person was under the influence of a substance that prevented their
ability to safety operate the motor vehicle.
While the legal limit for driving while intoxicated by alcohol is 0.08%,
there is no legal limit that has been set for driving under the influence
of drugs. A driver that has a lower than 0.08% BAC may not be cited for
DWI, but a driver that has only a small amount of a prescription medication
in their system may be.
According to recent research from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration,
the overall prevalence of
driving under the influence of alcohol has decreased, but more drivers are being arrested for other
impairing substances in their system, including prescription medication.
Unlike alcohol, there is no way of determining how a prescription drug
may affect a driver, and how much of it is considered an impairment. If
you or a loved one have been pulled over and arrested on suspicion of
DWI due to a prescription drug you had the legal right to take, you should
contact a St. Louis DWI attorney at Millikan Wright, LLC. With experience as a
former police officer and prosecutor, we can argue on your behalf to protect
your freedom to drive and prevent a criminal record from affecting your life!