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Taking Prescription Drugs? Be Careful of DWI!

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:

  1. A person controlled a motor vehicle while it was moving; and
  2. 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!

Categories: DWI

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