Are There A Lot Of Prescription Medication Cases?
I do not see a lot of these cases because for the most part if someone was taking a prescription medication, the police officer would often not get to the first step of suspecting anything unless the person was completely woozy and out of it. With an alcohol case, the officers always say they smelled the odor of an alcoholic beverage.
Prescription drugs may not have any indication that manifests itself in the person’s appearance, meaning they may not have the bloodshot eyes and the slurred speech, although they may slow down their thinking process and their reaction time.
I have not seen a huge number of these cases because what usually happens is that when the police do not see the alcohol, they assume they really do not have enough to go further and start asking questions. Keeping in mind they would have to have some probable cause to believe the person was intoxicated, they could ask them to take some tests.
The police would not be able to just pull the person over for a seatbelt violation and ask them to blow into a tube since they had been pulled over anyway. Someone who was taking a prescription medication may not have the bloodshot eyes and the slurred speech and they probably may not be out late at night when most of DUIs happen. A great percentage of DUIs happens between 10, 11 o’clock and 3, 4 o’clock in the morning.
It is somewhat like a bear waiting upstream for the salmon to come home because at that time people would be coming home from bars, they would be going to bars, and they would just be easy pickings.
I have not seen a huge number of prescription drug cases, although I do see them once in a blue moon. There was a case where the person got convicted of reckless homicide for being under the influence of prescription drugs. He admitted he had some prescription drugs that he had taken far too much of and that he had mixed a couple of them. He had gotten really messed up and ended up killing somebody.
In Illinois, What Are The Laws Regarding Prescription Medications And Driving?
Illinois has same prohibition for any intoxicating compound, whether it is illegal drugs or alcohol. The DUI statute treats all of them the same as class A misdemeanors, although there are different sections. A1 and A2 deal with regular alcohol and whether the person blew over the limit. There could also be a combination of alcohol and/or prescription drugs and then there are drugs.
Prescription drugs would be no different than illegal drugs if either of them impaired the person’s ability to drive. Even if the doctor has prescribed the person to take Norco, it would be a DUI if the person takes two Norcos and drives all over the road.
It would not matter whether the medication had been legally prescribed and it would not matter the warnings on the label stated the medication could cause drowsiness therefore the person should not operate machinery. They would need to know the law.
Ignorance of the law is not an excuse, so people cannot just be taking medication that would make them super woozy and then expect to not get a DUI. It would become a little more of an issue if they were taking something like NyQuil because that would make them woozy. NyQuil has about 8 or 10 percent alcohol in it and that can be enough to make it an alcohol and drug combination even though it was not an over the counter drug.
People should keep in mind that any amount of alcohol that impaired their ability to do normal things could end up with them having to do a circus act while doing the field sobriety tests on the side of the road and it would be enough for them to get a DUI, which is why they need to be very careful with prescription drugs.
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