When most Colorado residents think about DUIs, they think about people driving under the influence of drugs like alcohol or illicit or illegal drugs. One question that many people have is if they can get a DUI for driving while under the influence of legally prescribed drugs. They may be surprised to find that this can actually happen. Laws vary by state, but you could get charged with a DUI even when the substance in question is prescription drugs.
The reason for this is because, in general, there are two types of DUI charges. There are per se charges and impairment charges. Signs of impairment include things like the inability to maintain proper hand-eye coordination.
In the first case, for a driver to even be charged with a DUI, he or she has to be operating a vehicle while under the influence of some sort of intoxicant. Once those conditions have been met, the charge will either be a per se DUI charge or an impairment DUI charge. A per se DUI charge is determined by how much of a substance there is in the driver’s blood. With alcohol, this would be the blood alcohol count (BAC). Certain states have also figured out illegal blood concentration levels for other types of substances, such as marijuana, meth and coke.
An impairment DUI charge is imposed on a driver when he or she is simply intoxicated or under the influence. This means that it doesn’t matter what substance caused the driver to be impaired. He or she simply needs to be impaired. In these types of situations, prescription drugs and even over-the-counter medications can cause impairment, and the driver can be charged.
People dealing with DUI charges may benefit by working with attorneys who have plenty of experience handling these types of legal issues. Experienced lawyers may be able to help accused individuals work out a solution that satisfies all parties.