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Does a Doctor's Note Get You out of Drug-Related Driving Charges?


You're pulled over by the police, who believe you may be intoxicated. The kicker is that you haven't had anything to drink. Instead, you've just been taking prescription medications. The police arrest you and say that you can still get a DUI because you were under the influence of a drug while driving -- even if that drug wasn't alcohol.

Now, if you've really followed the doctor's orders and you owned and used the drugs legally, can that doctor's note get you out of the charges?

It may not. There are prescription drugs that impact your ability to drive a motor vehicle, and the directions may even tell you not to drive after using them. If you are under the influence, you can still be charged, whether or not you have a doctor's note.

This is common, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. They carried out a survey in 2010 and discovered that about 10 million U.S. citizens operated their vehicles with drugs in their systems. This includes illegal drugs, but it's also unlawful to drive while taking some legal medications.

Naturally, the doctor's orders can get you out of related drug charges. Using prescription medications without a prescription, for instance, can lead to drug charges that go on top of the driving offenses, but you don't have to worry about that if you did obtain the drugs in accordance with the law. But even that doesn't mean you won't be charged with anything.

If you are facing charges, perhaps because you didn't even realize you were breaking the law, you must know your legal rights. A conviction can have a drastic impact on your life.

Source: FindLaw, "Driving Under the Influence of Drugs," accessed Feb. 02, 2017