Laws pertaining to driving under the influence vary from state to state, and Pennsylvania is no exception. While most people associate DUI charges with alcohol, it is important to know that prescription drugs can also lead to legal consequences if not taken responsibly.
In Pennsylvania, the law takes a strict stance on impaired driving, regardless of the substance involved.
Prescription drugs and DUI
Pennsylvania law considers any substance that impairs a person’s ability to drive safely as a potential DUI offense. This includes prescription medications, which can have side effects like drowsiness, dizziness or impaired coordination. If police officers pull you over on suspicion that you are under the effect of prescription drugs, you could face DUI charges.
Law enforcement may conduct chemical testing during a traffic stop to determine the presence of drugs in your system. Pennsylvania law sets limits for certain drugs, and exceeding these limits can result in DUI charges. Even legally prescribed medications can lead to a DUI if they impair your ability to drive safely.
If convicted of a DUI in Pennsylvania involving prescription drugs, you could face fines, license suspension and mandatory participation in alcohol or drug education programs. The severity of the penalties may increase with repeat offenses or if there are aggravating circumstances, such as accidents or injuries.
Studies suggest that 54% of drivers injured in car crashes tested positive for alcohol or drugs. While you might not consider prescription drugs to be harmful in the same ways as illegal substances, they are absolutely capable of impairing your driving ability.