Michalk, Beatty & Alcozer, L.P.


What if I am pulled over after taking my own medicine?

To follow up on a previous post, a Killeen resident can be charged with driving while intoxicated, referred to as a DWI or, sometimes, an OWI, if he or she operates a motor vehicle while "intoxicated" on any drug or alcohol. This includes one's own legally prescribed medication, taken according to the doctor's instructions.

So, if a Texas resident gets pulled over, he or she should expect that the officer will run through a standard investigation and decide whether or not to pursue a DWI charge which, incidentally, carries with it similar penalties to a straight-up drunk driving charge. Explaining to the officer that a person was taking his or her own medicine will not help and may even hurt one's case.

However, this does not mean that the person will have no option for mounting a defense to these charges. In the case of charge based on the use of one's own medicine, the state is going to have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the driver did not have full use of his or her coordination, judgment, and the like because of the prescription medication. Unlike an alcohol-related charge, they will not simply be able to point to a breath or blood test showing that a person was over the legal limit.

In this respect, a lot of person's case may depend on how their body has responded to their medication in the past and also what the medication's warning labels stated regarding side effects and precautions. A doctor's opinion may also be helpful. In any event, though, a skilled and experienced DWI attorney may be able to help someone facing a charge like this assert an effective and competent defense.

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