DUI and Prescription Drugs in Maryland

DUI and Prescription Drugs

When you think of someone being arrested for a DUI in Maryland, you assume that it is the result of consuming too much alcohol. You may even feel the arrest was the result of using illegal drugs such as marijuana or cocaine. But what about prescription drugs like Ambien and Xanax? Can you be arrested for driving under the influence of these legally prescribed drugs?

Prescription Drugs

Some people think that because a doctor prescribed a drug, that it is 100% safe to take it. This is not always the case. Legal drugs alone, or when combined with alcohol or other drugs, can have serious side effects that may affect your ability to drive. It’s dangerous to assume that you can drive after taking a prescribed medication. For instance, sleeping medication like Ambien and Lunesta can have an intense sedating effect on a user that can impair a driver just as much as too much alcohol. Make sure to check any warning labels on prescribed drugs to see if there may be issues with your ability to drive. Sleeping pills, anti-anxiety medications, and prescription painkillers are the usual suspects in prescription drug DUI cases.

DUI for Prescription Drugs

If you swerve, drive erratically, or cause an accident while driving under the influence of prescription drugs, you may be pulled over for a DUI. To charge you with DUI, the police officer must have probable cause to believe that you are under the influence of a drug and that the drug is impairing your ability to drive safely. This can be demonstrated by the officer’s observation of bad driving, how the person interacts with the officer, and performance on a series of drug recognition tests. Occasionally there may be blood or urinalysis tests which can show the type of drugs and the amount of the drugs in the driver’s system.

Drug Recognition Examiners

Drug recognition examiners (DRE) are experts that are usually called to the scene of a traffic stop with a driver or to the police station after a person has been arrested for suspicion of DUI. The DRE has specialized training in the field of drug recognition. DREs use a series of tests that they have been trained on to look for clues that a driver was under the influence of drugs. The testing is not always accurate, and there’s some skepticism about the scientific usefulness of DREs.

Contact a DUI Attorney

If you’ve been arrested for a DUI after using prescription drugs, you need to contact an experienced DUI attorney. Contact the attorneys at Alpert Schreyer, LLC or call us at 866-444-6363 to schedule a free consultation.

About Andrew Alpert

+Andrew is one of the leading DUI and criminal defense attorneys in both the state of Maryland and the District of Columbia. He blogs about Maryland DUI law, has numerous videos on the subject and has been asked to appear on national television to offer his legal opinion on high-profile criminal cases.