It’s not even a debate that driving while intoxicated under the influence of alcohol or illicit drugs is potentially dangerous for most. That said, where does that leave legally prescribed drugs? Current standards for determining intoxication is pretty sketchy. If a police officer believes that your driving is affected by any sort of substance — alcohol, illicit drugs, medication (yes, even over-the-counter), you can and most likely will be arrested for a DWI. Between harsh laws and flawed tests, people are mistakenly getting charged with DWI for driving while under the influence of their legally prescribed medications. Just ask Tiger Woods.
Prescription Drug DWI is a Thing
Imagine a veteran who has recently returned home from combat and dealing with depression. He goes to his doctor who rightfully prescribed him with antidepressants to help with the adjustment of civilian life. The doctor casually says that the medication may affect driving under the medication but that ultimately it depends on the person. On his second day taking the meds, he unknowingly rolls through a stop sign. A cop pulls him over and does the procedural interrogation. During the conversation, he apologizes and mentions that he is under new medication, which may have affected his impaired judgment. Sounds standard, right? Well, guess again.
From a legal stance, the driver just confessed to a DWI! Texas has a zero tolerance policy with DWIs, so this more-or-less innocent veteran is now arrested and charged with a DWI. Despite his sobriety from the traditional good ol’ drinking, his meds still got him into trouble.
Why Prescription Drug Intoxication Isn’t Measurable
Strange but true — testing devices used during most DWI stops are not what they’re cracked up to be and have been known to not even be able to tell the difference between a honey bun and booze. With that, are you really surprised that these devices wouldn’t be able to detect what type of drugs you’re on, especially prescribed ones from your doctor? Oftentimes during a stop, cops are running on little else than A) your word and B) their judgment. If they allege any sort of driving impairment, you’ve more or less booked your stay at the county jail. So do not openly admit to being on any medication. All this does is increase your odds of arrest and conviction.
Which Prescription Drugs Can Get You a DWI
Unfortunately, there’s no hard-and-fast rule for which legally-obtained drugs impairs your driving because it really boils down to how your body, energy level and diet metabolizes the medicine. That said, the following over-the-counter products are known to increase your chances of getting arrested.
- Vicodin and other pain killers
- Cough syrups with codeine
- Tylenol PM
Charged with a Prescription Drug DWI? Remain Silent and Call Thiessen Law Firm
With such lousy standards for determining DWI, it’s no wonder so many people are getting charged for driving under the influence of drugs they were legally prescribed. Fortunately, Mark Thiessen and Thiessen Law Firm team know how to not only fight but win DWI charges in the state of Texas. If you are arrested under suspicion of DWI, remain silent and call the Thiessen Law Firm at (713) 864-9000 to schedule your free consultation today.