Is Drugged Driving and DUI Under The Influence of Drugs The Same Thing?

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Drugged Driving Or DUI-What’s The Difference?

As a motorist in Columbus, you can be arrested and charged with DUI for either operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs, operating a vehicle with a prohibited level of drugs in your blood or urine (drugged driving), or both.

One difference between the two offenses is that you can be charged with operating under the influence of a drug, but not be over the legal limit for that drug in your blood or urine.

If you are charged with DUI for driving under the influence of drugs, it is usually not a defense that the drug of abuse was taken pursuant to a prescription.  This is because the prescribed medication (drug) was taken voluntarily.  Typically the prescription comes with a warning not to operate a vehicle or heavy machinery.

However, it may be possible for you to claim that there was an unpredictable reaction to the medication, and thus involuntary.  Under this situation, you would have to show that the medication was taken as prescribed and that there was no warning or instruction not to operate a vehicle.

On the other hand, if you are charged with drugged driving only (meaning the level of the prescribed medication in your blood or urine was over the legal limit), it is a defense that the drug was taken according to a prescription issued by a licensed health professional.

Again, you would have to show that you were not abusing your prescription and were merely taking the medication in accordance with the prescribed directions.

If you’ve been arrested because of DUI of drugs in Columbus and were taking a prescribed medication at the time, call the DUI attorneys at James D. Owen, LLC or contact us here.