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Is it illegal to drive after taking prescription medication?

While certain substances might be legal, it is illegal to drive while under their influence. Alcohol and prescription medication can dramatically impact a driver’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. Both prescription medication and strong over-the-counter medicines can cause drowsiness and perceptive failure. Even though a breath test won’t measure the diminishing effect of prescription medication, the police officer can still administer a field sobriety test to gauge your level of impairment.

Since every person is different – different body types, different metabolisms, different eating habits, different tolerance levels – there is no universal list of guaranteed symptoms for prescription medications. Individuals are encouraged not to drive after taking a new medication, new combinations of medications or new dosages of an existing medication until the side effects are fully understood. Common side effects can include:

  • Slowed reaction time
  • Blurred vision
  • Loss of coordination
  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea

While DUI has historically referred to operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, recent years have seen numerous laws updated to reflect impairment by drugs and prescription medication. Law enforcement officers will administer a field sobriety test to judge whether your ability to safely operate the vehicle has been impaired. Additionally, chemical tests will likely uncover the presence of strong prescription and over-the-counter medication.

Connecticut law enforcement takes traffic violations seriously. A DUI conviction can mean devastating consequences that only get worse based on an individual’s driving record and history of criminal offenses. Unfortunately, even a first offense could ultimately lead to penalties such as fines, increased insurance premiums, jail time and community service. It is wise to protect yourself by seeking the guidance of a skilled defense attorney who will fight to limit your exposure to these serious consequences.

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