Prescription Drug DUI Under Arizona Law

Investigative Article

The Hidden Dangers of Prescription Drug DUI: What You Need to Know

Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious offense that can lead to dire consequences. However, there is a growing issue that is often overlooked - prescription drug DUI. Many people don't realize that driving while taking certain prescription drugs can be just as dangerous, if not more so, than driving under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs. In this investigative article, we will delve into the risks and implications of prescription drug DUI.

The prevalence of prescription drug use among drivers

According to a study by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, approximately 20% of drivers in the United States have used prescription drugs for non-medical reasons, and this number is increasing. While many of these drugs are legally prescribed, they can still impair driving ability and lead to a DUI charge. It's important to understand which medications can affect driving and how to avoid the risks, especially in Arizona where the laws are particularly strict.

The dangers of driving under prescription drug influence

Many prescription drugs can cause side effects that can impact driving ability, including drowsiness, dizziness, blurred vision, and impaired coordination. These effects can be even more pronounced when combined with alcohol or other drugs. In fact, a study by AAA showed that drivers who had taken prescription drugs with warnings against driving were twice as likely to have an accident as those who hadn't.

Penalties for prescription drug DUI in Arizona

In Arizona, driving while under the influence of prescription drugs is against the law and can result in severe consequences. The penalties for prescription drug DUI are similar to those for alcohol DUI and can include fines, driver's license suspension, and even jail time. Additionally, Arizona has a zero-tolerance policy for drivers under 21 who have any amount of drugs or alcohol in their system.

Role of Drug Recognition Experts (DREs)

When someone is suspected of driving under the influence of drugs, law enforcement officers may call in a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) to perform a series of tests to determine if the driver is impaired. DREs are specially trained to recognize signs of drug use and impairment and can provide evidence in court. However, the reliability of these tests has been called into question, as they are often subjective and can be influenced by the opinions of the DRE.

Defenses against prescription drug DUI charges

If you are charged with prescription drug DUI in Arizona, there are a few defenses that your attorney may use. These can include challenging the validity of the DRE tests, arguing that your driving was not impaired, or claiming that the medication was taken as prescribed. However, it's important to note that these defenses may not always be successful and it's always best to avoid driving while taking prescription drugs that can impair driving ability.


Here are a few common questions about prescription drug DUI in Arizona:

  • Can I drive while taking prescription medications?
  • What should I do if I am pulled over and suspected of prescription drug DUI?
  • What are the legal blood or urine concentration limits for prescription drugs in Arizona?

Contact an attorney for guidance

If you or someone you know has been charged with prescription drug DUI, it's essential to seek the guidance of an experienced criminal defense attorney. An attorney can help you understand the charges against you and develop a defense strategy that may help mitigate the consequences. Remember, driving under the influence of prescription drugs is a serious offense with potentially life-altering consequences. It's always best to err on the side of caution and avoid driving while under the influence of any substance that can impair your driving ability.

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