Virginia state law makes it illegal for you to drive after having a couple of beers or mixed drinks. Impaired driving statutes also make it illegal to drive while under the influence of mind-altering drugs. Police officers can arrest those who are under the influence of banned and controlled substances in addition to alcohol.
Drugged driving offenses can lead to jail time and fines, as well as the temporary loss of your driver’s license. While the average person understands drunk driving laws, there is more confusion about drugged-driving regulations. Many people may not even realize that they routinely drive while drugged.
For example, a surprising number of people think that these laws only apply in scenarios involving illegal drugs, like heroin or methamphetamine. However, police officers can arrest you for drugged driving even if the drug in question isn’t against the law.
Prescription and over-the-counter drugs can affect your driving
Any mind-altering substances that affect how safely you drive your car technically impairs your ability. It is the impairment caused by the drug and not the legal status of the medication that makes the act of driving after taking the medicine criminal.
If a police officer pulls you over when you have recently taken prescription pain medications, benzodiazepines or even over-the-counter cold and flu medication, they may determine that you are a drugged driver even if you took the recommended dosage exactly as suggested by the manufacturer or the prescribing physician.
Your personal tolerance or reason for taking the medication will likely not stop a police officer from arresting you or the state from charging you with drugged driving because of prescription or over-the-counter medications.
How do you defend against drug-driving allegations?
There are numerous ways for people to fight back against claims that they let prescription or over-the-counter medication affect their driving. From proving that it had been long enough after taking the medication for the effects to wear off to challenging the officer’s reason for pulling you over, there may be numerous defense strategies that could work in your case.
Learning more about drugged driving charges and looking over the evidence against you can help you decide on the best defense strategy in your case.