While much attention is paid to the dangers of drunk driving, the risks associated with driving under the influence of certain drugs can be just as dangerous. You can be charged with a DUI while under the influence of illegal drugs like marijuana, but you can also be charged if under the influence of prescription drugs. If your ability to drive is compromised by impairment of a prescribed medication, an officer may arrest you and you could be charged.
How DUI charges work in Michigan
Prescription medications can impair a driver just like alcohol and other drugs. In Michigan, OWVI (Operating While Visibly Impaired) and OWI (Operating While Intoxicated) are two different charges related to driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
OWVI is a lesser charge than OWI that is applied when a driver’s ability to operate a vehicle is visibly impaired due to alcohol or drugs. In other words, a driver’s ability to safely operate a vehicle is less than the average unimpaired person's. This is still a serious offense that can result in fines, jail time, and license suspension.
OWI, on the other hand, is a more severe charge. A person charged with OWI is substantially impaired. The consequences of an OWI are fines, license suspension, community services, and jail time.
Under the influence of prescription drugs
Although the drug or alcohol responsible for the impairment is an important factor in a driving while under the influence charge, it is not the only thing law enforcement looks for. A driver is charged with OWI or OWVI not for what drugs are in their system, but for the level of impairment, they are at. So, if a prescription drug causes impairment, you can be charged.
Some prescription drugs are known for having intoxicating effects, even with a prescribed dosage. Some of these prescribed medications include:
Learn your defenses to a prescription drug DUI charge
A DUI charge can turn your life upside down. With a strong defense, you can fight against conviction and get your life back on track. An experienced DUI attorney at Manley & Manley understands what you face with a DUI charge. We also understand how to fight back. Since there is no specific test for prescription drug impairment like a BAC for alcohol impairment, the police have to show that you were visibly impaired by other means. We know how to challenge the evidence against you and build an effective defense.
To fight a serious DUI charge you need a serious lawyer. We've been handling DUI defense cases in Michigan for years. We know the laws and we know your rights. If you're faced with a DUI prescription charge, contact us and schedule a free case evaluation.