Residents of Texas who take legally-prescribed drugs need to be aware that it’s possible to face DWI charges while taking those drugs. It’s important to understand why this is the case.
Is it illegal to drive when you take prescription drugs?
As long as you’re not impaired, it’s not against the law to drive while on legally-prescribed drugs.
However, if the drug causes intoxication, you shouldn’t drive. It can lead to an unsafe situation for you and everyone else sharing the road. If a police officer sees you driving erratically, they can pull you over and arrest you for driving while intoxicated.
How can prescription drugs impair you?
Depending on the type of prescription drug, you can experience certain side effects. Some drugs are dangerous to use when you’re driving or operating machinery of any kind and can cause the following effects:
- Blurred vision
- Slowed movement
- Slowed reaction time
What can happen if you’re arrested for DWI while on prescription drugs?
Drivers who are found to be on prescription drugs can be charged with DWI just like those impaired by alcohol or illicit drugs. A first offense of DWI on prescription drugs is considered a class B misdemeanor, which means if you’re convicted, you can face up to six months in jail and be required to pay a maximum fine of $2,000. You might even have your driver’s license suspended for one year.
With a prior conviction of DWI even if it’s not due to prescription drugs, the charges are elevated to a class A misdemeanor or even a felony in the first degree, both of which carry harsher penalties. In addition to a jail term and higher fines, other penalties that come with a conviction may include probation, community service, mandatory courses and rehab.
Even with the lesser misdemeanor conviction, these are criminal charges that can dramatically change your life for the worse. It’s possible to have trouble securing housing, a job or being accepted into certain schools.
Being safe while driving is important. Avoid driving if you’re taking a prescription drug that impairs you.