Can prescription medication lead to a DWI?

On Behalf of | May 6, 2024 | DWI |

When it comes to driving while impaired/intoxicated (DWI), the usual suspects often include alcohol and illicit substances. However, there is one often overlooked culprit: prescription medications. These drugs, even when taken as prescribed, may potentially put drivers in dangerous situations.

How prescription drugs may impair driving

In Minnesota, it is unlawful to operate a vehicle when under the influence of a controlled substance or an intoxicating substance. Controlled substances include drugs that have a risk for physical and mental dependence, including prescription medications such as:

  • ADHD medications, such as Adderall
  • Sleep aids, like Ambien
  • Opioids, including morphine and methadone

Meanwhile, intoxicating substances include those that may “impair the central nervous system or impair the human audio, visual or mental processes” after consumption. Hallucinations, drowsiness and dizziness are just some of the side effects that prescription medications may have.

While these symptoms may be manageable at home, they can make driving a challenge. Understanding the side effects prescriptions have may help drivers avoid devastating accidents and the legal consequences that follow.

Facing DWI charges for prescription drugs

Assuming that only alcohol and illegal drugs can result in a DWI can lead to a costly, life-changing mistake. In Minnesota, driving while intoxicated can result in both administrative sanctions and criminal penalties, including:

  • Driver’s license revocation
  • License plate impoundment
  • Vehicle forfeiture
  • Jail or prison time
  • Fines
  • Criminal record

Aggravating factors, such as a prior DWI conviction, a high AC and having a child under 16 in the vehicle, may result in harsher criminal penalties. These consequences can have far-reaching effects on a person’s daily life.

However, charges do not automatically mean a person is guilty. Contesting a DWI charge in court could make a big difference in what happens next. After an arrest for DWI, consider calling an experienced DWI attorney in Minnesota for urgent support. They can provide guidance and explore strategies that may help reduce or dismiss the charges.



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