Maryland DUI Drug Charges
If a person took a prescription or over the counter drug, then they could be charged with a drug DUI in Maryland. A driving while impaired by drugs charge is different than being charged with driving while impaired by alcohol.
A scenario where somebody is more likely to be convicted under that charge is if the state can prove that the person had consumed the drug and/or the officer observed some sort of erratic driving such as not being able to maintain the car in one lane, crossing the center line, or something else that indicates that the person is a danger on the road. If you have questions relating to a driving while impaired charged, talk to a professional Maryland DUI drug attorney.
Legal or Prescribed Drugs
A person can be charged and potentially convicted even if the drug that they were taking was a prescription or over-the-counter drug. There are warnings on the labels of prescription medications that warn against driving while taking the medication. Because of this, a person cannot defend themselves by saying that they did not know they could not drive while on the medication.
It is important for a defendant to be able to discuss with their attorney whether they are under the care of multiple doctors. It is possible that those medications, when taken by themselves, may not impact the person’s ability to drive a car safely, but certain drugs can have a different, more severe affect when mixed with other drugs.
If a person was recently prescribed a new drug from a doctor, and that doctor was not aware of previous prescriptions that had been given to the defendant, that could be a defense. If the defendant was not aware of the possible effects of the drug interactions, then that could possibly be a defense for a Maryland DUI drug charge.
In order to be convicted of driving while impaired by drugs, the state has to prove the additional element that the defendant could not operate the vehicle safely. This does not occur in an alcohol related DUI case, and that additional element can be more difficult to prove.
For example, traffic offenses such as speeding or not having the rear tag light properly eliminated are offenses that anybody could be charged with and have nothing to do with whether or not they can operate their vehicle safely. If a person was pulled over for that reason and the police officer suspected that they also had consumed some sort of drug, the fact that they had consumed a drug does not mean that they could be convicted of driving while impaired by drugs. The state would not be able to prove the additional element of driving the vehicle unsafely.
It is possible that a person could still be charged with driving while impaired by drugs even if they are taking a legally purchased, over the counter medication such as Benadryl. There will still be warning labels on over-the-counter medications. A person has a duty to be aware of what the potential side effects are.
Driving under the influence of an over the counter drug, even Benadryl, can cause a person to be convicted of driving under the influence of drugs. Talk to a professional DUI drug lawyer for more information.