You Can Be Arrested on Dui Drugs Charges for Driving While Taking Legal Prescription Drugs

Are you or a loved one facing charges of DUI drugs? Arizona has some of the firmest penalties for driving under the influence of prescription drugs in the United States. First offenses have mandatory jail time, hefty fines, driving suspensions, and more. For this reason and many others, you’ll want an experienced and knowledgeable attorney who understands how to fight a DUI charge for prescription drugs. With over 40 years of experience with many DUI cases, we can help you navigate the confusion of the legal system and put you at ease. 

What is Driving Under the Influence of Prescription Drugs? 

Most people are familiar with a DUI related to alcohol consumption but may not be familiar with its applications for prescription medications and other drugs. An emerging area in DUI cases and enforcement relate to DUI drugs. Many drivers make honest mistakes and are arrested on DUI drugs charges while taking legal prescription drugs. Most people are unaware that driving under the influence of prescription drugs can be grounds for an arrest and conviction similar to illegal substances or alcohol. You’ll likely be subjected to a DUI drugs blood test during the process. Here are a few definitions to be aware of when discussing DUI drugs: 

  • Prescription-only – It refers to a drug that is prescription only. It must also be prescribed under the direct supervision of a doctor or other authorized medical professional. This excludes dangerous or uncontrolled substances like narcotics. The drugs that can result in a DUI drug charge include: 
  • Marijuana
  • Percocet
  • Ambien 
  • Valium
  • Xanax
  • Morphine
  • Codeine
  • OxyContin
  • Oxycodone
  • Hydrocodone
  • OTC – Also known as over-the-counter drugs, these are easily accessible to the general public and can be found in your local grocery or convenience store. These drugs may not be considered prescription but can harm the mind, motor skills, and reaction times due to drowsiness or dizziness. Some OTC drugs to be aware of include: 
    • Antihistamines
    • Nighttime cough medicine

How to Fight DUI Charge for Prescription Drugs

DUI arrests for alcohol are the most common cases because they are the easiest to prove in court as there is a universal level of impairment at a .08 or higher. In contrast, prescription controlled substance cases are challenging to prove because the drugs must be subjectively shown to cause impairment. Unlike alcohol, there are no easy benchmarks or measuring systems in place for driving under the influence of prescription drugs. Even DUI drug cases that involve operating a vehicle with marijuana can be defended because it is difficult to prove impairment if it is not outwardly visible. 

A positive DUI drug blood test is not a guarantee for a conviction as there are no universal levels for impairment. For cases like this, the point is to present reasonable doubt through careful analysis of the arrest details. Here are a few defenses your attorney may use to fight a DUI charge for prescription drugs: 

  • Other causes -Our seasoned and skilled DUI drugs attorneys will effectively argue that a wide range of reasons could be responsible for perceived impairment, such as sickness, prior injuries, drowsiness, or any other natural or common issues. 
  • No probable cause – Our lawyers may prove that the police arrested you without probable cause or reasonable suspicion. 
  • Violation of constitutional rights – You have the right to speak with an attorney as the “evidence” is being metabolized in your body. A timely and affirmative request to speak with an attorney that isn’t granted could mean suppression of the blood results and/or dismissal of your case. We know how to present Right to Counsel issues and other constitutional violations to a judge and successfully do so at our firm.   
  • No Universal Level of Impairment – Drugs do not have the same effect on everyone.  Individuals can build up a tolerance over time or, based on the composition of their body, the same amount of a particular drug has a variety of effects on different people.  Understanding the nuances in presenting these defenses is important to communicate the lack of impairment based on historical and physiological issues to a jury.  

Jury for DUI Drug Charges

How a Prescription Controlled Substance is Considered a DUI

As the world resumes its routine, there will be more drivers on the road in the coming months, and everyone needs to understand how using legal drugs while driving can result in a DUI charge. Although the most common DUI cases include alcohol, you don’t want to be caught driving under the influence of prescription drugs. You place yourself at risk when you choose to get behind the wheel after prescription medications or marijuana. Many people take these medications and resume normal daily functions because they have built up a tolerance over time and don’t feel impaired. The risk you run is that a blood result shows levels that a police department and prosecutors office subjectively feels are impairing and moves forward with a DUI prosecution.  

Even when taken the night before, many prescription medications have side effects that can linger the next day during your regular morning commute to work. Any traffic violation where you are stopped gives the police grounds to stop you and ask questions. The police may question why you missed the red light, and if you answer by indicating that you have taken prescription medicine, they may have grounds to charge you with a DUI drug offense. You will also be subject to hefty fines and other penalties. You have the right to remain silent and should exercise that right and not offer information to police about medications you have consumed.  

The Best Attorneys for DUI Drugs

Knowing how to fight DUI charges for prescription drugs should be left in the hands of a Criminal law and DUI specialist, but it’s essential to be empowered with the information should these circumstances arise. First-time offenders will not be spared in DUI drug charges and are subject to harsh consequences. We understand that losing driving privileges and the impact on your record can place your job in jeopardy. However, you don’t want to risk a guilty plea that can result in possible jail time by fighting these charges on your own. 

We are committed and passionate about ensuring that you receive fair treatment throughout the litigation process. Regardless of whether you’re guilty or not, we fight for your constitutional rights of innocence until proven guilty. No two cases are the same, and we take a personalized approach to every client we meet. We work with a wide variety of DUI drugs cases, including: 

  • Aggravated DUI
  • Extreme DUI
  • DUI – impairment
  • DUI – drugs
  • Juvenile DUI
  • Aggravated Assaults
  • Manslaughter (DUI)
  • OUI’s (boating under the influence)

An Attorney Can Represent You


You need the experience and advocacy of a skilled DUI attorney to fight these charges. Often, the consequences you face will be dramatically different than they would be if you chose to fight these charges on your own. We have the knowledge and expertise to protect you from these life-altering penalties and provide you with peace of mind. Our compassionate approach to keeping the lines of communication open has resulted in numerous successful cases and satisfied clients. 

Contact us today for a detailed and thorough assessment of your case! 

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