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Can I Get a DUI for Driving under The Influence of Prescription Drugs?

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You may think you’re safe from a conviction if you get pulled over for a DUI when you haven’t been drinking. However, if police can show that you’re a danger on the road, you could receive a DUI, even if you’ve only taken medication prescribed to you by a doctor. Proving the charges for a prescription drug DUI is a different process than the more common alcohol-based DUI, and involves a more robust factual showing. Read on to learn more.

Under Illinois laws governing driving under the influence, there are several ways that someone can be convicted of a DUI. The most straightforward of these is when the suspect shows a 0.08% alcohol concentration in their blood or breath when they’ve been driving. Someone “under the influence” of alcohol can also be convicted without a blood or breath test showing a particular blood alcohol concentration, but this requires the officer to present other evidence of your intoxication.

Similarly, you can be charged with a DUI under Illinois law when you have taken prescription medication or even over-the-counter drugs if the officer can prove that the medicine rendered you “incapable of safely driving.” This means that an officer will need to prove that you were a safety hazard on the road with other evidence than simply the results of a test; namely, involvement in any car accidents or execution of traffic violations that put other drivers in peril.

Under normal circumstances, drivers pulled over on suspicion of DUI have the right not to take field sobriety tests without automatically facing a loss of license. However, if you have a registry card under Illinois’ Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act, you have waived that right and must comply with an officer’s instructions to complete field sobriety tests when pulled over. If you are lawfully permitted to use marijuana medicinally, the presence of a trace amount of marijuana in your system while behind the wheel will not trigger a DUI as it would for someone who does not have a registry card, but it can still result in a DUI if the officer can show that your driving was impaired by the albeit-legal use of marijuana.

If you are facing prosecution for a DUI, drug possession, theft, or another misdemeanor or felony in Illinois, contact the seasoned and dedicated Chicago criminal defense attorney John Fairman for a consultation on your case, in Homewood at 708-799-4848, and in Justice, IL at 708-799-4848.

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