Many people assume it is safe to drive after taking prescription pills. However, just because they come from your doctor doesn’t mean you can safely drive. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration tracks the risks of more than 400 drugs, many of which are legal prescriptions. While illegal drugs still make up a substantial number of drugged driving cases and crashes, medicine prescribed by your doctor is still implicated in a number of crashes. If you’re driving after taking a prescription, you could still face charges of driving while ability is impaired.
Those charges and their consequences could be even more severe if you mix alcohol with prescription drugs. Alcohol often has a synergistic impact on drugs that can make their impact on your stronger. You could experience a host of unexpected medical side effects if you have even a single drink while under the influence of a strong prescription medication. Law enforcement will not care if your medication was legally prescribed. They will only care about whether it seems to impact your ability to safely drive. If you appear to be impaired, you could very easily face criminal charges.
Prescribed medication can impact your ability to drive
Certain drugs, like painkillers or sleep aids, can make you drowsy and slow to react to sudden events. Psychiatric drugs, such as SSRIs or benzos, can have an impact on your cognition and driving ability as well. It is best to avoid driving when you are acclimating to a medication that could affect your ability to drive. Always ask your doctor about the potential impact on your driving any new medication or combination of medications could cause.
Getting convicted of driving while impaired by drugs or by drugs and alcohol can change your life. You could lose your license for six months, even if it is your first offense. You could also go to jail for a year and have to pay a fine of between $500 and $1,000. Those consequences could impact your ability to retain your job or find a new one. Repeat offenses could even result in permanent loss of your license. Even if you believe you were complying with a doctor’s orders, look into legal guidance as soon as you know you’re facing criminal charges for driving after taking medication.
An attorney can help explore your options
Facing impaired driving charges can be frightening, but that doesn’t mean you should just plead guilty to avoid court. In fact, pleading guilty can result in a lifelong criminal record. Your best option when facing charges related to driving and prescription drugs is to speak with an experienced New York criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney can review the situation and your medical records to help you determine what options are available for a defense.