Prescription Medications and DWI: A Primer on Drugged Driving

By May 13, 2019 No Comments
drugged driving

I’m People associate DUI arrests with alcohol but drugged driving is also a major issue. Drugs, other than alcohol, account for 16% of motor vehicle crashes on the road in the U.S.

While drunk driving is a more common charge, millions of Americans receive prescriptions, and millions of Americans drive cars.

This leaves many of us at risk of making a poor decision that can impact the rest of our lives.

So, let’s talk about drugged driving, how to avoid it, and what you can do about it.

Drugged Driving: Which Drugs are Off-Limits?

It should go without saying that any drugs that are illegal to use are also illegal to use before driving. Here are the drugs that should not be used on the road.


It should come as no surprise that even in states where it is legal, marijuana can land you a DUI. This is even true for medical prescription recipients, and marijuana will stay in your bloodstream for up to 24 hours.

Sleeping Pills

If you take sleeping medications like Lunesta, do not get on the road. These kinds of drugs should only be taken as a sleep aid, and can severely inhibit your ability to drive.


These are often taken as anti-anxiety medication. Valium, Ativan, Klonopin, and Xanax are the most commonly prescribed benzos, and they can severely hurt your ability to drive.


Okay, this one should also go without saying. Oxycodone, Vicodin, Percocet, and morphine are increasingly popular prescriptions, and should never be used before driving.

With over 2 million Americans misusing their pain medications, this is a serious problem. These types of drugs are extremely dangerous, and less safe on the road than alcohol.

While all of these types of medicines are not the only drugs that can inhibit your ability to drive, you should talk to your doctor about any prescription you are given.

The Law & What You Can Do

Different states have different laws for DUI, but a general guideline for federal law has some scary repercussions.

  • First offense is up to 180 days in jail and a $2,000 fine.
  • Second offense is up to one year in jail and a $4,000 fine.
  • Third offense is up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

License suspensions are not included in that but are very common. Find out more about what to expect from a DUI charge in Texas.

That is assuming that nobody gets hurt in the process. First offense for vehicular manslaughter is a much higher sentence.

Your best defense is a San Antonio DWI Lawyer so they can help you make the best of the situation.

DUIs will stay on your record, possibly give you jail time, leave you without the freedom to drive, and the penalties get worse each time.

Next Steps

It is clear that drugged driving is an issue that needs to be dealt with carefully. The best advice is to find out if your medication is safe to drive with, and if not, avoid driving under the influence of that medicine.

Whether you agree or disagree with these DUI guidelines, they are the law of the land. If you have been caught driving under the influence of prescription drugs, contact a lawyer today.