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Prescription Drug DUI

You are legally entitled to take your prescription medication as prescribed by an authorized physician. So, what happens if your prescription meds give you side effects that law enforcement confuse as intoxication? Unfortunately, a police officer can lawfully arrest you for driving under the influence (DUI) of your prescription if they believe your mental and physical faculties are impaired beyond your control.

Some prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications imitate the side effects of a controlled substance. They can make a person extremely drowsy, fatigued, inhibit your motor control and even cause blood shot eyes. All of these effects are enhanced drastically if these meds are taken with even the most minimal amount of alcohol. All these factors could cause a police officer to mistake the side effects of a prescription with inebriation.

If you or someone you know has been arrested for a DUI related to prescription drugs, then it’s within your best interest to gain legal representation.

Prescription DUI Defense Lawyer in St. Lucie County, FL

In Florida, if your mental and physical faculties are impaired severely then an officer could arrest you for driving under the influence. That means police could potentially arrest you for DUI because your prescription medication affected your physical and motor functions. If this has happened to you, then fight back with skilled and experienced representation from the attorneys at Meltzer & Bell.

Meltzer & Bell creates effective and effective defenses for our clients charged with DUI. We will sit with you and discuss all your legal options. Call us now at (772) 291-2534 to schedule your first consultation. Meltzer & Bell will do whatever we can to fight for you and your rights. Meltzer & Bell practices throughout the Treasure Coast area including St. Lucie County and Martin County, Florida.

Overview of Prescription Drug DUI in FL

  • Can I Be Charged with DUI for Using My Prescription Drugs?
  • What Are the Penalties for Prescription Drug DUI?
  • Prescriptions Whose Side Effects Could Cause DUI Charges
  • Additional Resources

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Can I Be Charged with DUI for Using My Prescription Drugs?

Many believe that driving under the influence charges only incorporate illicit substances or alcoholic beverages. Although it might seem strange, a person can be charged with driving under the influence for taking their prescription medications. Florida Statutes states that you can be charged with driving under the influence if your mental and physical faculties are impaired beyond your control. The Florida Statutes Section 316.193 establish you are guilty of driving under the influence if you:

  • Were in actual physical control of the motor vehicle; and
  • Were under the influence of an alcoholic beverage, chemical substance or controlled substance to the extent that normal physical and mental faculties are impaired;
  • Have a BAC of .08 or more per 100 milliliters of blood; or
  • Have a BAC of .08 or more per 210 liters of breath

You must understand that a “controlled substance” doesn’t only apply to street drugs. It does extend its definition to illegally obtained prescriptions such as Valium, Xanax or Percocet. These drugs can impair your motor and mental functions to the point a police officer may believe you are intoxicated.


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What Are the Penalties for a Prescription Drug DUI in Florida?

The consequences for driving under influence are long-lasting and could have a serious impact on your life. A conviction could mean steep thousand-dollar fines, time in jail or prison and be required to fulfill various conditions including community service or DUI school.

A first-time DUI could result in the following penalties:

  • Up to 6 months in jail;
  • A fine of up to $1,000;
  • Driver’s license suspension for up to 6 months;
  • 10-day impoundment or immobilization of the vehicle;
  • Completion of a 12-hour DUI course;
  • Completion of a psychosocial and drug abuse evaluation;
  • Completion of any court ordered substance abuse treatment;
  • Up to 50 hours of community service

If you are convicted of a second DUI within five years of your prior conviction, then you could face the following maximum penalties:

  • Up to 9 months in jail;
  • A fine of up to $2,000;
  • Driver’s license suspension;
  • 10-day impoundment or immobilization of the vehicle;
  • Completion of a 21-hour DUI course;
  • Unable to obtain a hardship license for 12 months;
  • Completion of a psychosocial and drug abuse evaluation;
  • Completion of any court ordered substance abuse treatment;
  • Up to 50 hours of community service
  • Mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device

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Prescriptions that Could Result in DUI Charges in Ohio

People use their prescriptions to treat medical conditions or enhance their health. If you were lawfully prescribed your prescription, then you are lawfully allowed to take it as directed. However, a prescription drug can have side effects similar to inebriation such as slowed reflex time or slurred speech.

The following are some common prescriptions associated with DUI cases.

  • Methadone;
  • Valium;
  • Klonopin;
  • Lorcet;
  • Vicodin;
  • Codeine
  • Morphine;
  • Norco;
  • Oxycodone;
  • Percocet;
  • Ritalin;
  • Lortab;
  • Lunesta;
  • Xanax;
  • Oxycontin;
  • Demerol;
  • Hydrocodone;
  • Adderall;
  • Ambien; and
  • Ativan

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Additional Resources

Licensed DUI Programs in Florida – Visit the official website for the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) to learn more about their drug and alcohol education courses for DUI offenders. These programs are non-profits and will do set up a treatment plan for your case. Find which programs in your area by clicking the link provided.

DUI Laws in Florida– Visit the website for the Florida Statutes and read their section on driving under the influence charges (DUI) and other relevant serious traffic crimes. Access the site to learn the elements of DUI, administrative and criminal penalties and other important information you may need.


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Port St. Lucie Attorney for Prescription DUI in Florida

Were you recently arrested for driving under the influence in the southern eastern region of Florida? If so, it’s within your best interest to gain legal representation with Meltzer & Bell. All of our attorneys have extensive experience with all types of DUI cases including prescription-related charges. We have a thorough understanding behind the science involved in DUI and can use our knowledge to fight your case.

Call us at (772) 291-2534 to schedule your first consultation or simply fill out our online contact form and we will get back to you. Our attorneys will be eager to sit with you and start structuring your defense. Meltzer & Bell accepts clients throughout the greater Port St. Lucie area including Fort Pierce, Saint Lucie, Stuart, Palm City, and Jensen Beach.


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