In Texas, DWI, which stands for “driving while intoxicated,” refers to operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of any substance that would hinder your driving ability. These drugs might impair your ability to drive by affecting your depth perception and reaction time, for example, or by simply make you drowsy. When you read about DWI cases in the news, they usually involve alcohol or illegal drugs, but they can also involve “research chemicals,” which exist in a marginal space between legal and illegal drugs, and even prescription drugs. DWI for prescription drugs does not just apply to abuse of drugs that can be obtained without a prescription. You can actually get arrested for DWI if you drive while taking your own prescription medicines according to your doctor’s instructions, if these medications impair your ability to drive safely. Keep in mind that most controlled substances are legal in certain contexts, but that does not mean that you can drive while taking them.
Yes, You can Get a DWI for Taking Your Own Medications
All medications that are strong enough to be effective have side effects, no matter how harmless or mild. Some of these side effects make it difficult to drive safely and follow traffic laws. For example, if a medication causes drowsiness, impairs your judgment, or lowers your blood sugar or blood pressure substantially, it may be incompatible with driving. Medications shown to interfere with a patient’s driving ability have a warning on the prescription bottle advising people taking the medication not to drive. If your prescription contains this warning, it goes without saying that you should not drive while taking it. Even if your prescription bottle does not contain this warning, but you find that the medicine makes you drowsy or impairs your concentration, you should also refrain from driving while taking the medication. It is not illegal to take a medication that a doctor has determined is medically necessary for you, but it is illegal to drive unsafely.
What Should You do if You Get Pulled Over for Driving Under the Influence of Medications Prescribed to You?
If a police officer pulls you over based on a suspicion that you are driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and the only thing hindering your driving ability is the medically necessary prescription drug you have been taking, you should exercise your right to remain silent and not to be questioned except in the presence of an attorney. The “do not blow” principle, in which motorists suspected of drunk driving can refuse breathalyzer tests applies when you have just been taking your own prescriptions, too. Refusing breathalyzers and other sobriety tests might get you arrested, but it is sometimes in your best interest to refuse the breathalyzer in the moment and to straighten things out once you have had a chance to consult with a defense attorney.
Contact Madrid Law About DWI in Texas
If you get stopped for suspected DWI, your first step should be to seek the advice of a qualified defense attorney. Contact Madrid Law in Houston for a consultation about your DWI case.