Prescription Medications and DUIs in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania DUI Due to Prescription Medications

It may come as a surprise to some drivers that a legal prescription medication might get them charged with a DUI. A provision in the Pennsylvania DUI statute, P.S. § 3802(d)(2), refers to drivers who are unable to drive safely due to the use of drugs or a combination of drugs. The statute not only refers to illegal substances but a number of common prescription medications. Because a number of these prescription medications are included in the list of federal controlled substances and illegal drugs such as heroin or cocaine, a driver who finds themself arrested and charged with this type of DUI-D can face serious penalties.

At the Travis Law Firm, we know how to successfully defend your DUI case. An arrest doesn’t mean a conviction. However, having the Travis Law Firm at your side can mean you have a fighting chance to have those charges dismissed. We will investigate your case, gather the evidence needed to support you and can employ expert witnesses to testify on your behalf. Call us right away at (814) 277-2222, and don’t go down that slippery slope alone. We can also be contacted online.

Penalties for a Prescription Medication DUI 

Being convicted of a DUI can come with serious penalties. However, a conviction for a DUI-D can carry even harsher penalties equal to those of the highest BAC level DUI, and it doesn’t matter if you are taking a medication prescribed by your physician. Just the minimum sentencing penalties are:

  • A fine of $1,000 to $5,000
  • A mandatory suspension of your driver’s license for 12 months
  • From 72 hours to six months jail time
  • If you have a CDL license, that will probably be gone

Controlled Substance DUIs

Prescriptions given to you by your doctor of the following medications probably have a warning posted on the label that says to not operate a vehicle while using them. However, many people don’t realize that it is a crime in Pennsylvania to drive while using these substances. Some of the following are medicines that are found on the list of controlled substances that could land you in jail:

  • Ambien
  • Ativan
  • Diazepam
  • Lorazepam
  • Oxycodone
  • Prozac
  • Valium
  • Xanax

Defending a Charge of Using a Controlled Prescription Medicine While Driving

There are many ways in which a lawyer can defend a DUI charge due to prescription drug use. Some of the ways include:

  • Lack of material evidence can help a lawyer defend you against charges. When the liver breaks down a chemical, it produces metabolites, and that is what drug tests measure. However, just because someone tests positive, it doesn’t indicate when they took the medication or whether it is safe for them to drive.
  • The Miranda Rights weren’t read to you. 
  • The arrest was unjustified.
  • Inaccuracies in the police report can get the charge thrown out.
  • Due process wasn’t followed.
  • The checkpoint or stop wasn’t legal.

The areas above may be used to weaken the prosecutor’s case. The lawyer representing the individual facing the charges can also ask for a plea deal or have the charges lowered. There are many avenues a lawyer can use to help their client.

Travis Law Firm

When you’ve been charged with a DUI or DUI-D, Travis Law Firm is here to fight for your rights. Our experience as litigators can help you during this critical time. Call us at (814) 277-2222, or you can contact us online