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Is It Illegal to Drive While I’m on My Medication?


If you take a prescribed medication, ingesting it before driving can be a big mistake. Many people associate driving under the influence with alcohol, marijuana, and illegal drugs, but even what your doctor legally prescribes to you can get you into trouble.

Driving under the influence of drugs, or DUID, is a crime in Colorado. In terms of the penalties one can face, it’s identical to a DUI of alcohol charge.

If you are pulled over by a police officer for DUID, you may be arrested and compelled to submit to a blood test. If any detectable amount of a drug that can cause impairment is found in your system, you can be charged with DUID.

Which Prescription Medications Can Cause Impairment?

DUID laws in Colorado cover all drugs, whether they’re known to cause impairment or not. The reason for this is because not everyone reacts to the same medications the same way.

For example, you may be taking birth control or a medication to treat high blood pressure. These prescription drugs typically don’t cause symptoms like dizziness, drowsiness, nausea, blurred vision, or fainting, so they are unlikely to cause impairment.

If someone does experience unusual symptoms of a prescribed medication and chooses to drive while impaired, though, they can be arrested and charged with DUID.

All of that taken into account, though, most DUID convictions involve prescription drugs that are well known and expected to cause impairment.

Prescription drugs that often lead to DUID arrests include the following:

  • Medical marijuana
  • Morphine
  • Oxycodone
  • Ambien
  • Xanax
  • Vicodin
  • Hydrocodone

But My Doctor Prescribed It to Me, Doesn’t That Matter?

If you are legally prescribed a drug that can cause impairment, that fact might save you from a drug possession charge, but not a DUID. Whether or not you are in legal possession of a controlled substance doesn’t have much bearing on whether or not your driving was impaired because you ingested it.

Should I Tell the Police I’m Taking a Medication?

If you are stopped for DUID, you are not obligated to tell the police anything beyond basic biographical information, such as your name and address. You do not need to explain that you are on a medication and probably shouldn’t.

Consider the possibility that the police originally stopped you because they suspected DUI of alcohol. If you tell the police you’re taking a medication, you’ve essentially confirmed their initial suspicions that you were driving while impaired by something, but it wasn’t alcohol.

Call Orr Law Firm for Legal Assistance

If you are arrested for DUID, reach out to Orr Law Firm for legal assistance. We’ve helped many people like you over the years fight impaired driving-related charges. You don’t have to face this situation alone, nor should you. We can be the legal advocate you need most right now.

To schedule a consultation, please contact us online.