According to the CDC, roughly half of all Americans use at least one type of prescription drug. Many people depend on these drugs to remain healthy and function properly each day. Because prescription drugs are legal, many people might assume that it’s okay to drive while under their influence. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case in the state of New York.
While the laws surrounding these matters aren’t always clear, it’s important to become aware of the potential consequences of driving while intoxicated. In some situations, you may be able to prove that your prescription drugs were not impacting your cognition or ability to drive normally. No matter what, it’s always a good idea to enlist the help of a qualified DWI attorney who can guide you through the legal process. With an experienced legal expert by your side, you can pursue a favorable outcome.
The Definition of a DUI in New York
Under section 1192 of New York’s Vehicle and Traffic Law, the definition of a DUI is outlined. This section clearly states that “No person shall operate a motor vehicle while in an intoxicated condition,” and “No person shall operate a motor vehicle while the person’s ability to operate such a motor vehicle is impaired by the use of a drug.” The section also states that “No person shall operate a motor vehicle while the person’s ability to operate such motor vehicle is impaired by the combined influence of drugs or of alcohol and any drug or drugs.”
While the law doesn’t specifically mention prescription drugs, it is implied that any substance that impairs your ability to drive is not allowed. It also states that you may not drive a vehicle while intoxicated. These broad, generalized regulations extend to prescription drugs.
Which Prescription Drugs are Not Allowed?
The legal definitions of terms like “impairment” and “intoxicated” are extremely subjective. For example, someone who has just consumed a cup of strong coffee could technically fall under the category of “intoxication.” But what about prescription drugs? While there’s no easy answer, here are some examples of prescription drugs that could be considered intoxicating and impairing:
- Opioids: OxyContin, morphine, methadone, etc.
- Tranquilizers: Valium, Xanax, etc.
- Sleeping Pills
- Muscle Relaxants
- Diet Pills (can sometimes cause excitement and insomnia
- Cough Medicine
Who Decides Whether I’m Intoxicated?
Police officers in White Plains or Westchester County are usually tasked with determining whether or not a driver is intoxicated. You may be asked to undergo a field sobriety test or a blood test at a medical facility. Things like slurred speech and lethargic movements may also play a role in determining whether someone is intoxicated.
Get Legal Help Today
Darren DeUrso, Attorney at Law
188 East Post Road, Suite 300
White Plains, NY 10601
Phone: (914) 772-8614