Many people assume that they won’t face criminal charges in connection to taking prescription medications that are prescribed to them or over-the-counter medicines that they use in accordance with the instructions. While this is the case most of the time, there’s one instance that can lead to criminal charges.
Taking legal medicines can lead to criminal charges if they cause impairment and the person taking them drives a vehicle. Operating a vehicle while you’re impaired is illegal, even if you’re taking medications as instructed.
Determining impairment can be difficult
A person who’s impaired by alcohol can take a chemical test that will determine the amount of alcohol in their system. Since alcohol metabolizes quickly, the level in the body directly correlates to the impairment level of the person. There’s not a test that can tell this for other drugs in a way that helps officers determine the impairment level of the person driving.
Oftentimes, these cases hinge on the defendant’s own statements, as well as observations of the officer. Invoking your Fifth Amendment rights can help prevent a person from making statements that might be used against them in court. It’s often necessary to question specific claims the prosecutor makes so you can introduce reasonable doubt into the case.
Any kind of drunk driving charge can have serious consequences for your future — plus there’s the damage to your reputation and a permanent criminal record if you’re convicted. Anyone who’s facing an OWI charge should ensure they know their defense options and have experienced guidance by their side from the very start.