How To Avoid A DWI While On A Prescription

Do you take prescription medication? If so, and you're involved in an auto accident, there's a real possibility that you could be arrested and charged for driving while intoxicated (DWI). If someone's injured in the accident, or your children are in the car, you could even be charged with felonies! The fact that the prescription is legal won't matter. How can you protect yourself against unwarranted DWI convictions related to your prescription medication in the event of an accident?

Understand What Proof Is Needed For Conviction

There are two things that are needed for most successful DWI charges involving prescription medication:

  1. proof that you were on the medication while you were driving, and
  2. proof that the medication impaired your ability to drive normally.

The best way to protect yourself against charges related to your prescription medication use is to not assist the police in gathering evidence against you. Officers are trained to look for signs that drugs are alcohol are involved in an accident, so you need to be careful about what you say or do.

Don't Discuss Your Medication Use

Many people accidentally cause their own arrests, usually because they're trying to be honest. While you should never lie to a police officer, there are times when it's far wiser to remain silent than to offer unsolicited information.

For example: don't tell the officer on scene that you think your pain medication made you drowsy. At that point, you've pretty much announced that you were driving under the influence of a narcotic drug that impaired your ability to drive. After that, it's fairly simple for an officer to get a warrant to search your car, and an order to test your blood for alcohol or drugs.

If an officer asks you if you are under the influence of any drugs that could have impaired your ability to drive normally don't lie - however, you don't have to answer, either. Tell the officer that you're not comfortable discussing your medication without a lawyer present.

Decline Field Sobriety Tests

In general, it's always advisable to decline field sobriety tests. 

The problem with such testing is that the results don't really rise above the level of an educated guess when it comes to proving a "measurable" impairment due to drugs.

For the most part, the signs used to show impairment by drugs are things like an elevated pulse, rapid talking, nervousness, flushed skin, and difficulty concentrating. However, all of these things are conditions that could arise from fatigue, low blood sugar, or just anxiety or panic from the situation!

Any field sobriety test you do take will be on film. If you fail the test, that film can be used as documentation of your "impaired state" and used to convict you, so don't open yourself to the risk by allowing it.

Don't Consent To A Search - And Leave Your Medication In The Car

A lot of people carry a few pills with them when they leave the house - with or without the original bottles. You might have them in a pill box so that you can keep track of doses over the day, or you might have a bottle of Xanax in your pocket "just in case" you have a panic attack.

Do not leave the medication in plain sight, or remove it from the car, and do not consent to a search of your vehicle.

If the officer sees the medication, he or she has reason to further investigate the role of drugs in the accident. That makes it harder for your attorney to attack the investigation and arrest due to a lack of probable cause.

If you consent to the search of your vehicle, you are voiding any chance that the search might later be declared illegal.

By not helping the police gather evidence against you, you have already helped your attorney with your defense. Try to stay calm, and promptly contact an attorney who can help you fight the charges, so that you can protect your reputation, your job, and even your parental rights and personal freedom! For more information, contact a firm such as Garrett Law Firm, PA.