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DUI Involving Prescription Drugs in New Jersey

August 16, 2010 | Posted In Recent News - Municipal Court

Most New Jersey residents assume a DUI offense involves driving under the influence of alcohol.   It’s very likely that most New Jerseyans aren't aware that they could be charged with a DUI offense if found driving under the influence of perfectly legal prescription medication. 

Prescription dug use is widespread, and is perfectly legal.  It's not uncommon to find persons, like senior citizens, on more than one medication.  Unfortunately, there are hundreds of new drugs being marketed every year to treat a variety of ailments and illnesses, and not every doctor is aware of what kind of side effects these medications can cause.  It's not just side effects of individual medications that are a problem.  When these medications are combined with each other, they may interact and generate new side effects that could possibly impair the person's driving skills.

If you're driving after taking prescription drugs, and are pulled over by police officers for driving under the influence, it's important that you show them your doctor's prescription.  Failure to do so could possibly result in a deduction that you were driving under the influence of illegal drugs.  That seems perfectly unfair, but it's New Jersey law.  Things can begin to get complicated if the motorist was not aware of the side effects of the medication he or she was taking.  In such cases, you’ll have to bring in a New Jersey DWI lawyer for help.

There are things you can do to prevent such incidents in the first place. 

  • When your doctor puts you on medication, ask him about the drug's side effects. 
  • Know that different persons can ingest the same medication differently.  Ask the doctor if it is safe for you to be driving after taking the medication.
  • When you visit the doctor, make sure that you take a list of all the medications that you are already on.  Include any herbal or nutritional supplements or over-the-counter medications that you're taking, in this list.  Better still, take your medicine bottles and pillboxes in a bag to show your doctor.  He will then be able to prescribe drugs that don't react with a medication you're already on. 

However, if you've failed to do any of this, and are facing charges of DUI while under the influence of prescription drugs, there's no need to panic.  Consult with an experienced New Jersey DWI lawyer to ascertain your rights.

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