Charges with Prescribed Medication or Illicit Drugs, Abuse of Xanax, Opioids, and Other Drugs
Under North Carolina law, you can be charged with DWI for driving while taking your legally-prescribed medications. Regardless of whether you have been drinking alcohol or not, and even if you are taking your own medications as legally prescribed by your doctor, you can be charged with a crime under North Carolina law if the medications you take affect your ability to drive a motor vehicle. Under North Carolina law, you can be convicted of DWI for driving while under the influence of any impairing substance. Some substances that can impair your ability to drive include:
- Cough medicine
- Pain medicines
- Anxiety medications
- Other commonly prescribed medications
Even over-the-counter medications can cause vision changes, weakness, dizziness, and drowsiness, all of which can negatively affect your ability to drive. While prescription medications cannot be detected by a breathalyzer the same way alcohol can, they still have the potential to impair affect your ability to drive a motor vehicle. If law enforcement has probable cause to believe that you are under the influence of any impairing substance, an officer can lawfully proceed to obtain a blood sample to detect the presence of any medication in your system.
North Carolina law allows for no defense to Driving While Impaired, even when your medications have been consumed in the time intervals and dosage amounts as prescribed by your doctor. The fact that your DWI charge results from you taking your medication in a lawful manner will not prevent you from being convicted and sentenced the same as any drunk driver whose blood alcohol content (“BAC”) is above the limit of .08. While the law is clear that driving with a BAC of .08 or more is illegal, there is no such standard for medications. Obtaining a DWI conviction when a driver is under the influence of medication is more difficult for North Carolina prosecutors than convicting a driver who has consumed too much alcohol. Still, prosecutors in North Carolina have obtained DWI convictions based on nothing more than a driver’s poor performance in field sobriety tests and the presence of an impairing substance.
Russell W. DeMent III
Criminal Defense Lawyer
DWI Legal Services
An experienced defense attorney who knows how to defend DWI charges stemming from legally prescribed medications may be your only chance to avoid a DWI conviction. If you are among the many North Carolina residents who have made the mistake of driving while taking medications as legally prescribed by a doctor and have ended up with a DWI charge, you need to contact an attorney experienced in handling prescription drug-related DWI cases as soon as possible.
DeMent, Askew & Johnson and its team of DWI defense attorneys are skilled at defending medication-related DWI charges. Call us today to speak with one of our defense attorneys for a free consultation at 919-833-5555.
Criminal Law Articles from the Blog
CONNECT WITH US
AVAILABLE AT 9AM TO 6PM
333 Fayetteville Street, #1513
Raleigh, NC 27601-2950
CRIMINAL DEFENSE SUCCESS
Defendant charged with 2 counts of habitual impaired driving on his 7th total offense. Were able to negotiate a plea consolidating the sentence to one term of 28 months in prison where he was facing the potential for 10 years or more.
Not Guilty of DWI with Serious Collision; LEO Failed to Gather Specific Information from Driver Taken to Hospital with BAC of .17
Client charged with driving while impaired. LEOs respond to a serious collision where someone being taken to the hospital in EMS vehicle upon troopers arrival. The vehicle had flipped 2 times and landed in the median. Based upon information obtained at the scene, the LEO finds my client in the hospital with injuries consistent with…
Motion to Suppress and Dismiss Granted for Lack of Probable Cause; No Reliable Evidence Suggesting Impairment After Speeding Stop
Motion to suppress and dismiss granted for lack of probable cause to arrest where my client was stopped for speeding, had an odor of alcohol, glassy eyes, admitted to drinking, as well as showed signs of impairment on the field sobriety tests. The court put little weight on the field sobriety tests because the officer…
Client charged with level 3 trafficking in opiates which carried minimum mandatory sentencing of a minimum of 225 months (18 years 9 months) in prison. After months of negotiating with the prosecuting attorney and following a lengthy argument to the court, Defendant was sentenced to 65 months (5 years and 5 months) in prison with…
Guilty Verdict of Less Significant Charges of Driving with License Revoked and Lane Violation; Charges Included DWI, Driving While License Revoked, and Hit and Run; No Jail Time
Client charged with DWI, driving while license revoked for impaired revocation, hit and run, and driving left of center. She was found on side of the road in driver’s seat 400 yards from a collision, showed clues of impairment on the field sobriety tests and blew a .10 on the breath test. Found not guilty…
Defendant had a head-on collision with injuries to both parties. He was given field sobriety tests on the scene of the collision and did not perform well on those tests with the exception of the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) test where he showed no signs of impairment from any central nervous system depressant. He admitted…
Defendant charged with Level 2 DWI with one prior within 7 years. Was facing a potential sentence of 1 year in prison. Defendant attended a treatment program and really changed her life direction while the case was pending. We were able to get the judge to agree to accept the inpatient treatment as credit for…
Client approaches a DWI roadblock. Smells of alcohol and performs ok on field tests though she does so some signs of NHTSA clues of impairment. She admits to drinking and blows positive for presence of alchol on the portable breath test. She is taken to the mobile breath testing bus at the checkpoint. She is…
Client stopped for speeding. LEO smelled odor of MJ about clients person. LEO search revealed burned MJ blunt. Defendant performed poorly on all physical tests but told the officer he suffered from a herniated disk in his lower back. On the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) eye test there were no clues of impairment. A subsequent…
Evidence Suppressed in DWI Case; Court Holds “No Reasonable and Articulable Suspicion” for Traffic Stop
All evidence suppressed in DWI case for an illegal stop where the LEO observed my client pause in a parking lot for 30 seconds before leaving the lot and then crossed a center line during a turn at an intersection. Held “No reasonable and articulable suspicion” for a traffic stop.