Whether it is your first trip in years to a doctor, or you are a regular patient, you may emerge with a new prescription. You may decide to take the first dose of your new medication there and then so that you hopefully feel better sooner. However, some medicines could cause you to pick up a charge for driving while under the influence (DUI) if stopped by the police on your way home.

What does the law say about driving after taking medication?

In Florida, there is no specific wording that excludes prescription drugs from DUI charges. If they are influencing your ability to drive, then technically, you are driving under their influence.

How can you avoid picking up a DUI due to your medication?

There are several steps you can take to protect yourself:

  • Ask your doctor: Just because they did not tell you to refrain from driving does not mean it is safe to do so. Ask them directly. If taking other medicines, mention it to the doctor. Pills for different things may contain some of the same active ingredients. When you combine two doses, have harmful effects.
  • Check the instructions: There is a wealth of information on most prescription medicines. Ensure you read them thoroughly. Check your new treatment does not react with anything else you are taking.
  • If in doubt, do not drive: It is better to be safe than sorry. If you are unsure, get someone else to drive you home, or take a cab. While this may be an additional cost, it will be cheaper than dealing with a DUI.

If stopped by a law officer who thinks your driving was impaired, blaming it on the medication only serves to confirm their suspicions. Rather than mentioning it to the police, tell an attorney. They may be able to use the fact to reduce the charges against you.