DUI for Prescription Drugs

Written by:Julian Stroleny PortraitJulian Stroleny

When a person hears that someone was charged with a DUI, chances are they immediately think the person was driving under the influence of alcohol. However, DUIs also include people who drive under the influence of both illegal and legal prescription drugs. This is because both illegal and legal prescription drugs can impair a driver.

In the state of Florida, the law states that if a person is driving and is under the influence of drugs, they may be charged with DUI if they’re impaired. A case that involves driving under the influence of drugs can become difficult and complex for the defense as well as the prosecution. A DUI charge for drug use can have the same consequences as one for driving under the influence of alcohol.

Prescription Drugs and DUI Charges

There are many prescription drugs that can affect a person’s ability to drive. This can lead to dangerous driving and may result in a charge of driving under the influence. Some of the side effects of these prescription drugs include dizziness, drowsiness, fainting, slowed movement, blurred vision, etc. All of these may hinder the ability to make quick reactions and safe choices while you are behind the wheel.

Many of the drugs that are involved in driving under the influence charges are painkillers or narcotic analgesics or CNS depressants, which are often used to treat disorders such as convulsions and anxiety. Some of these medications include:

  • Lunesta
  • Ambien
  • Hydrocodone (Lorcet, Lortab, Vicodin)
  • Oxycodone (Oxycontin, Percocet)
  • Morphine
  • Fentanyl
  • Codeine
  • Xanax (Alprazolam)
  • Valium (Diazepam)
  • Ritalin
  • Adderall

All of these medications can affect the way that you function and impair your driving. If you are taking these medications, it is important to talk to your doctor about the safety of driving while you are taking them. You may want to seek other options if they are available.

Drugged Driving Penalties

Miami criminal defense attorneys know that being accused of a DUI can be an upsetting experience, especially if you were driving under the influence of a drug that you were prescribed by your physician. Unfortunately, the penalties for drugged driving are the same as they are for drunk driving. However, it is often more difficult to prove that a person was driving under the influence of drugs. A blood or urine test may be used to prove that the drugs were in your system. However, the effects of the drugs are also challenging to prove because the side effects and tolerance of a medication can vary greatly.

Some of the penalties for drugged driving include:

  • Up to a year of probation
  • Up to 180 days in jail
  • Fines of $500 to $1000
  • Suspension of your driver’s license for up to a year
  • Community service
  • Vehicle impoundment
  • DUI school

How a Miami DUI Lawyer Can Help


If you have been convicted of drugged driving, it is possible that your license will be automatically suspended. Since prescription drugs are easily abused and can be addictive, those who are found to be under the influence of an illegally obtained prescription medication may be charged with illegal possession as well.

If you are charged with DUI, contact our criminal law firm in Miami for help. Our lawyers will help you through every step of your case. In a drugged-driving case, a prosecutor has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were under the influence of a prescription medication at the time you were charged with the DUI. Blood tests for this are often unreliable, which can make proving these charges difficult.

There are several factors that can affect a blood test’s accuracy, and these may affect whether or not it can be admitted in your case. If the blood test is not given right away, it is difficult to prove that the drug was in your system when you were driving. As drugs may remain in a person’s system for several days, it can be hard to prove that they were influencing you at the time you were arrested.

A quality defense attorney knows all of these things and will be able to help defend you if you have been charged with a DUI involving prescription medication. It is important to contact a Miami DUI lawyer right away after you have been charged so that they can begin working on your case immediately and hopefully you get the charges either dropped or lesser charges filed.

Stroleny Law, P.A. handles a variety of criminal law cases, so call now if you have any questions.