Do you take prescription medication? Whether you’re taking something temporarily or on a more permanent basis, you have plenty of company. “The number of prescriptions filled for American adults and children rose 85 percent between 1997 and 2016, from 2.4 billion to 4.5 billion a year, according to the health research firm Quintile IMS,” reported WebMD.
Clearly, America consumes a lot of prescription drugs, so much that it’s affecting the safety of our roadways. And, depending on the type of drug and quantity, drugged driving can be as dangerous as drunk driving. The question then is, can you get a DUI for driving under the influence of a lawfully prescribed medication? In a word, yes.
Florida’s DUI of Drugs Law
Driving under the influence is covered under Section 316.193 of the Florida Statutes. Under Sec. 316.193(1)(a) it reads: “The person is under the influence of alcoholic beverages, any chemical substance set forth in s. 877.111, or any substance controlled under chapter 893, when affected to the extent that the person’s normal faculties are impaired.”
If you notice, it said “any chemical substance” and “any substance controlled under chapter 893.” What this means is that under Florida’s DUI law, you can be arrested and convicted of DUI for being under the influence of a prescription medication.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), “Prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, and illegal drugs may cause impairment alone or in combination with each other and/or with alcohol. In every State and the District of Columbia, impaired driving is illegal.”
The penalties for driving under the influence of prescription drugs is the same as an alcohol-related DUI. A first offense without aggravating factors is punishable by up to $1,000 in fines, a license suspension, up to six months in jail, DUI School, community service, and probation.
Facing drug-related DUI charges in Miami? Contact my firm for a free case evaluation.