Prescription Drugs

Consequences for Driving with Prescription Drugs Same as Alcohol

Driving while intoxicated doesn't just refer to alcohol. It can also mean driving under the influence of your prescription drugs.

The drugs you are legally prescribed are just as capable of intoxicating you as alcohol. And NH DWI laws treat all DWI's the same, regardless of the cause. Being pulled over while driving under the influence of prescription drugs can get you the same penalties as driving while impaired by alcohol.

Penalties for DWI in New Hampshire

What types of prescription drugs are we referring to? Painkillers, tranquilizers, allergy medicines and antidepressants can have adverse effects on drivers. Just because you are prescribed them doesn't mean you should drive while under their influence. Any driver can be considered impaired due to use of prescription drugs.

Fact: you can be cited for DWI if you have the presence of a legal prescription drug in your system and your driving is negatively impacted. Whether the drug alters mood, changes vision or reflexes, the results are the same: you are an impaired driver that is a threat to other drivers.

Prescription Medications That Can Affect Driving

  • Anti-anxiety medications such as Xanax
  • Barbiturates such as Secobarbital, Seconal and Phenobarbital
  • Allergy medicines such as antihistamines
  • Pain medications such as OxyContin and Avinza
  • Tranquilizers such as Valium
  • Sleep medications such as Ambien
  • Cough syrups containing codeine
  • Stimulants/amphetamines such as Dexedrine and Adderall
  • ADHD drugs such as Ritalin and Concerta

Be sure to look at the warnings on your prescription drug bottles. Many of these warning labels advise not to drive or use heavy machinery. Even if your prescription does not have a warning label, caution is suggested.

Bottom line: if you are taking prescription drugs, don't drive. It's that simple.

Potential of Losing Your Right to Drive

If any of your DWI's caused by prescription drugs are aggravated, the penalties will be much stiffer.

A DWI is aggravated when the driver goes 30 MPH over the speed limit, causes a collision resulting in a serious injury, attempts to evade a law enforcement officer, has a passenger under 16 in the vehicle, or has a blood alcohol level of .16 or above. A New Hampshire DWI lawyer Ryan Russman can help you achieve the best possible outcome.

And again, just because you haven't been drinking, doesn't mean you can't be impaired. Driving with prescription drugs in your system can have the same effect as alcohol: Slow reaction times, poor judgment, and a lack of concentration. This makes driving under the influence of prescription drugs a potentially deadly act.

Drug-impaired driving is a costly mistake, and the laws of New Hampshire only worsen that mistake.

If you've been arrested for DWI while using prescription drugs, Attorney Russman can assist you with every legal aspect. He possesses experience winning cases of this type and may help limit your fines or jail time.