Can I Get a DWI for Prescription Drugs?

Many New Yorkers assume that charges for driving while intoxicated (DWI) involve alcohol consumption or the use of illegal drugs. However, even taking a prescription drug that impairs your ability to drive can result in a DWI charge with the same penalties as those that would be applicable to a driver who had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or higher. Facing charges for a DWI because you were driving after you took prescription drugs can be extremely scary. Many New Yorkers who are charged with DWIs while using prescription drugs are law-abiding citizens who would never engage in drunk driving and would never use illegal drugs.

However, it is important to recognize that prescription medications and sometimes even over-the-counter drugs can impair a person’s ability to focus on the road. If you drive while impaired, you can face DWI charges in New York. If you have been accused of a DWI, an experienced DWI defense attorney can help with your case.

New York Law and Driving While Impaired By Drugs

What does New York law say about driving while impaired? Specifically, under New York law (VTL § 1192), a DWI can be charged if an individual is driving while his or her ability is impaired by drugs. In addition, any combination of alcohol and drugs—even prescription drugs—that impairs an individual’s ability to drive can result in DWI charges and a subsequent conviction.

As the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles explains, prescription drugs “can have effects similar to alcohol or even worse.” Before you take any prescription medication and get behind the wheel, you should be certain that you know about warnings and possible impairing effects.

Common Side Effects of Prescription Drugs That Can Lead to DWI Charges

What are some of the common side effects of different prescription drugs that can result in a DWI charge and conviction in New York? Here are some examples:

  • Dizziness;
  • Blurred vision;
  • Drowsiness;
  • Slowed reaction time; and
  • Nausea and vomiting.

What types of prescription medications can cause these symptoms and thus ultimately result in a DWI charge? The Mayo Clinic explains that many different types of prescription drugs can cause side effects that could result in impaired driving, including but not limited to the following:

  • Antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications;
  • Anti-seizure drugs;
  • High blood pressure medications;
  • Sedatives; and
  • Tranquilizers.

Talk to Your Medical Doctor About Your Prescriptions

If you take a prescription medication that could impact your ability to drive safely, you should discuss other options with your healthcare provider. You may be able to change medications so that you are not experiencing side effects behind the wheel.

Seek Advice from a New York DWI Defense Lawyer

Facing charges for a DWI in New York can be extremely distressing, especially when you were charged with this offense because of lawful prescription drug use. There are many different ways that a New York DWI defense lawyer can help to build your defense and to show the court that you should not be convicted. If you need assistance with your defense, an advocate at our firm can speak with you today. Contact the Law Offices of George Vomvolakis.