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Can Medication Use Lead to a DUI in Maryland?

Have you ever received a prescription that came with a warning not to drive or operate machinery while taking the medication? This is because the medication in question can cause drowsiness. You could injure yourself or cause injuries to someone else if you drive or work with machinery while using this medication. As people age, the number of medications they are on can increase, making the risk even greater.

What does this all mean if someone is driving under the influence of narcotics? Are they subject to potential criminal charges in Maryland? If you or someone you love has been charged with a DUI related to narcotics, it is important to contact a skilled Maryland DUI criminal defense attorney right away.

Being Held Criminally Accountable for Medication Use

A driver can be held accountable for driving under the influence. This includes being under the effects of narcotics, even if they are legal prescription drugs. There are some circumstances that a court may take into consideration, however. Is this medication you have taken for years with no problems whatsoever? Did something change with your body that changed how you reacted to it suddenly? In a situation like this, the judge may look at those details when determining what your sentence should be.

Some people are surprised that they can be held accountable for a DUI if there was no intent, like there is with someone who goes out drinking and knowingly gets behind the wheel. A DUI does not necessarily mean there needs to be intent.

Prescription Drugs and Over-the-Counter Medications

The penalties for driving under the influence of a drug can vary based on the circumstances, types of narcotics, and whether this is your first offense, second offense, etc. Most people think about DUI and drugs being applicable only to illegal drug use, but that is not all. If over-the-counter medications caused you not to be able to control a vehicle, then you are just as liable if it was a prescription or an illegal drug.

You have a duty to look at the possible side effects of any medication you are taking before you get behind the wheel of a vehicle. Items like allergy medications and cough syrups can result in severe drowsiness that will impede your ability to safely operate a motor vehicle.

Are You Required to Have an Interlock System?

With DUIs resulting from alcohol use, the court will likely require you install an interlock system on your vehicle, which will measure your blood-alcohol level before it allows you to start your vehicle. If you are arrested for a DUI related to prescription drug use, there is not really a way to measure the effects of that medication on your system. This is also different than getting behind the wheel after drinking too much alcohol. After taking allergy medication, you may hop in the car and drive because you feel fine. But two hours into your trip, you may suddenly become very drowsy. Even though the drugs are impairing your ability to drive, an ignition interlock device would not be able to detect that.

Contact a Maryland DUI Attorney

If you are facing criminal charges related to driving under the influence, contact the Law Office of Robert R. Castro today at 301-705-5137 to schedule an initial consultation.