DUI stands for "driving under the influence," and this includes the influence of all alcohol or drugs, illegal or prescription. Many prescription drugs caution the user against driving or operating heavy machinery while using them due to the impaired reflexes or judgment they may cause.
Many people think that a DUI charge is solely based on driving while drunk due to the use of the breathalyzer in the typical roadside sobriety test. However, if you are unable to pass the sobriety test due to other factors, such as inability to walk in a straight line or speak clearly, then you will still be slapped with a DUI charge. Keep in mind that driving under the influence, whether of drugs or alcohol, is a serious charge that may result in extensive fines, points against your license, or a misdemeanor on your criminal record.
Consult with your DUI lawyer if your DUI case involves prescription drug use. While it is illegal to use prescription drugs to excess, it may be difficult to prosecute due to lack of evidence of intoxication. The result often depends on your judge and your lawyer's defense.
While the breathalyzer presents a blood alcohol level, there is no similar evidence for too much Xanax, Percocet or other such prescription drug. Still, you should avoid overusing prescription drugs, as this may lead to auto accidents or death.
The following list of drugs should be avoided if you want to reduce your chances of a DUI conviction:
This list is by no means complete. Always read the label of the prescription drug you are taking. If it says that you should beware of operating heavy machinery, don't drive immediately after you take it. This is true whether you are taking the recommended dose or if you are overdosing to get a "high."
If a judge finds that you were using prescription drugs, a simple auto accident may be upgraded to a DUI depending on the laws in your state. For this reason, you should always check with a registered DUI lawyer before your trial to learn all the important details you may need to know.