Legal Drugs and DUI: A Closer Look for Drivers

If you are like the majority of the population, then when you imagine someone getting charged with a DUI offense, you visaualize someone who has been drinking alcohol or using illegal substances. However, legal drugs, such as those prescribed by your doctor or purchased over the counter, can also land you with a DUI charge. The fact is, even some drugs you think are safe and harmless can have an affect on your driving abilities. Here are a few of the biggest questions drivers tend to have about DUIs and legal drugs. 

Is a DUI charge the same if you are caught drinking or taking legal drugs?

Unfortunately, yes. The law makes no definition between whether a driver was taking a specific type of substance, only that the driver was driving while impaired or under the influence. So a DUI charge stemming from driving with something like sleep aids in your system is just as bad legally as it would be if you were driving while drunk in most cases.

How much of a legal substance would be deemed too much?

The blood alcohol regulation is set in every state, but the same definitions are not yet in place when it comes to legal substances. Although some state DUI laws do mention legal substances, there are no clear-cut and definitive rules for determining how much of specific drugs would be considered too much. The premise for most DUI charges resulting from legal drug use is most often just the fact that the driver seemed to be inebriated or not functioning safely as a driver. The sheer volume of different types of legal substances makes it difficult to perform enough testing and research to make determinations. However, with the legal drug DUI charge becoming more common, it is expected that new guidelines will emerge in the coming years. 

What should you do if you are charged with a DUI due to legal drugs?

The primary and most important thing you can do is talk to a DUI lawyer for advice. Because the laws regarding some of these legal drugs are not yet as clear as they should be, your lawyer may be able to help you overcome a guilty charge in some scenarios. Be sure you also keep track of doctor's notes and medical records that indicate your need for specific medications, as this information could be beneficial to your case.