DUI and Prescription Drugs in Las Vegas

Although many people are aware that driving under the influence of alcohol or other illegal controlled substances can result in a criminal charge for driving under the influence, most do not know that driving while under the influence of certain medications, legally prescribed by a doctor, can result in an arrest and conviction for DUI with Prescription Drugs.

Prescription Drug DUI Arrest in Las Vegas, NV

At the Law Office of Joel M. Mann, serving Clark County, attorney Joel Mann has defended several clients against Driving Under the Influence. He is familiar with a charge of DUI with Prescriptions Drugs. If you have been charged with Driving Under the Influence of Prescription Drugs, it is important to contact Joel Mann right away so he can start working on your defense. For DUI charges, it is necessary to hire a lawyer that will fight for you. Contact Joel Mann at (702) 474-6266 for a free consultation about your DUI allegations.

Nevada Statutory Laws About DUI of Prescription Drugs

NRS 484C.100 states it is illegal for a person to drive or be in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of a controlled substance or both alcohol and the controlled substance, whether or not they were incapable of driving the vehicle or exercising actual control of the vehicle. It does not matter whether the person has been permitted to use the drug under the laws of Nevada.

Therefore, although a person was prescribed prescription drugs, the driver accused of a DUI cannot use this fact as an affirmative defense to DUI for prescription drugs.

Types of Legal Prescription Drugs That Can Result in DUI

Various types of prescription painkillers, also known as narcotic analgesics, can cause numerous harmful effects on driving. Other medications, called sedative-hypnotics, also known as sleeping pills, are prescribed for people who suffer from insomnia and are unable to sleep. These prescription drugs can slow down the body functions, which results in impaired driving. Patients who are prescribed both types of medications are advised against driving while under the influence of these medications, and if the driver is found to have these medications in their system, they may be charged with violating Nevada DUI laws. A few common examples of prescription painkillers and sleeping pills are:

  • Vicodin
  • Lortab
  • Lorcet
  • Codeine
  • Hydrocodone
  • Oxycontin
  • Percocet
  • Demerol
  • Ambien
  • Lunesta

Effects of Prescription Drugs on Driving

Common side effects sleeping pills, sedative-hypnotics, narcotics, prescription painkillers, and narcotic analgesics have on driving include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Nausea
  • Delayed reaction time
  • Impaired coordination
  • Impaired judgment
  • Sleep driving, or sleep deprivation driving – a condition where the driver is not awake, or fully conscious while driving and has no recollection of driving

Testing for Prescription Drugs in the System

According to NRS 484C.160, if a driver is stopped for suspicion of DUI while driving or in physical custody of a vehicle on a highway or premises to which the public has access, they are considered to have given their consent to be tested for alcohol or other controlled substances by giving samples of breath and blood or urine.

Therefore, if a police officer has reason to believe someone is driving under the influence of alcohol, a controlled substance, or prescription drugs, then they can test the driver through a breath, blood and/or urine test without the driver’s actual consent.

If the suspected DUI offender refuses to submit to a test by the police officer, the officer is permitted to use reasonable force to test the driver. However, under NRS 484C.180, the suspect, at his own expense, does have the option of choosing another qualified person to administer the breath or blood test instead of a police officer.

Penalties for Driving Under the Influence of Prescription Drugs

Under Nevada Revised Statutes 484C.400, a first-time offense for DUI for Prescription Drugs, or controlled substance, is often a misdemeanor that can include such penalties as:

  • A fine of $400 to $1,000
  • Two (2) days to 6 months in jail, or 48 to 96 hours of community service
  • An educational course for abuse of alcohol and controlled substance
  • Possible alcohol or drug abuse treatment program
  • Potential driver’s license revocation

Additionally, punishment increases with each subsequent charge of DUI, whether the charges involve alcohol, controlled substances or both.

If any DUI offense results in a fatal or serious accident, or the driver has had three or more DUI charges in seven years, the prosecutor can bring a category B felony charge, where the driver accused of DUI can be sentenced to one to six years in prison, and a fine between $2,000 and $5,000.

Resources

U.S. Food and Drug Administration – Government agency providing information on various prescription drugs and their side effects.

Southern Nevada Area Narcotics Anonymous – SNANA has helpful information about finding help for drug and substance abuse.

21 E California St
Las Vegas, NV 89104-1009
(702) 369-3362
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Law Office of Joel M. Mann | Driving Under the Influence of Medication in Nevada

If you are charged with a DUI offense in Las Vegas, the best choice you can make is to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to aggressively fight for your innocence. There are many defenses to DUI and prescription drugs, and hiring an attorney with knowledge about this charge is your safest option.

Protect yourself now by hiring a lawyer committed to defending your case. Call (702) 474-6266 for a free consultation with DUI attorney Joel Mann to discuss the defenses best suited to the particular facts and circumstances of your criminal charge.