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Michigan Criminal Law Blog

OWI and Prescription Drugs

It’s no surprise that drinking alcohol or using illicit drugs and then getting behind the wheel of a vehicle can get you into a lot of trouble. But fewer people understand the laws regarding drugs prescribed by their doctors. After all, if a doctor has prescribed medication, shouldn’t using that medication and going about your normal life be perfectly legal?

This isn’t always the case.

It is possible to be arrested for OWI because you drove after taking a legally prescribed medication.

Of course, if you are using prescription drugs that weren’t prescribed to you or you’ve abused a drug by taking more than the prescribed amount, and then you drove, you’re breaking the law. But it’s also possible to be accused of a crime even if you are using a drug as directed.

Here’s what you need to know about OWI and prescription drugs:

Prescription Drugs Can Impair Your Ability to Function

Before using any prescription drug, it’s important to understand whether or not it will impair your ability to perform certain tasks.

Most pill bottles are labeled, but if you have any doubts, ask your doctor or the pharmacist who fills the prescription. If there is any warning about driving after using the drug, you can get into legal trouble if you do so.

If you are pulled over for erratic driving or law enforcement has some other evidence you’re operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you could be asked to take a drug test. Unfortunately, with many prescription drugs, the drug can remain in your system even if you haven’t taken a dose just before driving. Many drugs remain in your system for hours or days, which means something as simple as taking a sleep aid at night could leave you vulnerable to an OWI throughout the next day.

For more information about the laws regarding OWI and the potential consequences of a prescription drug OWI in Michigan, visit the State of Michigan Secretary of State’s website.

What Should You Do If You’re Arrested for Prescription Drug OWI?

The most important thing you need to know if you are pulled over and arrested for OWI because of a prescription drug is that you need the same legal support you’d need if it was alcohol or illicit drugs in your system. Just because something was prescribed by a doctor does not mean the charges against you will be dropped or that everything will work out fine in the end.

You can be charged, found guilty, and face serious consequences if you’re charged with OWI because of a prescription drug. The best way to deal with this is to have a legal expert on your side who understands the legal system and has access to resources that can help you build a case in your favor.

For more information or to speak to someone about an OWI related to prescription drugs, contact Andrew W. Kowalkowski, PLLC at 248.974.9594.

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