Understanding Prescription Drug DUI in Colorado


Most people tend to associate DUI with the consumption of excess alcohol or illegal drugs. However, you do not have to be partying to get a DUI in Colorado. Sometimes, just taking your prescription medication before you get in the car can do the trick.

Yes, even if you take your medicine precisely according to your doctor’s instructions, you may still be breaking the law. If you face DUI charges based on prescription drugs, you should take your situation seriously and consult with an experienced attorney promptly.

Reducing the likelihood of side effects

Being careful about proper dosage and drug interactions can help you avoid the kinds of side effects that often impair driving ability. Even a very small amount of alcohol can exponentially increase effects such as dizziness, sleepiness, and blurry vision.

Some medications also tend to have stronger side effects. These drugs include painkillers, some types of anti-anxiety medications, and sleeping aids. Over-the-counter remedies, especially those that treat cold symptoms, can also result in impaired driving. If your medicine falls into this category, your doctor and your pharmacist will likely advise you of this risk; you will also see a warning on the label.

Exercising caution

In addition, some people experience non-typical effects from medications that may not affect most people adversely at all. For this reason, you should avoid driving after taking a new medication until you know how it affects you. The same applies to changes in dosage, new combinations, or even a switch from brand name to generic or vice versa.

How law enforcement identifies impaired drivers

Most often, officers will stop you if they observe signs of impairment in your driving. These typically include drifting out of your lane, failing to comply with traffic signage and lights, abrupt stops and start, and other erratic behavior.

They will identify the presence of the drug in your system by having you take a chemical test. This type of evidence is not always clear-cut, as some substances can show up a long time after you actually took them.