Should you tell an officer you’re taking prescription medications during a traffic stop?

| Mar 11, 2021 | OUI |

If you are on your way home and see red and blue lights behind you, the likelihood is that you’ll stop for the officer. Once you do, you’ll have to hear them out and listen to what they claim is the reason for pulling you over. They may ask you some questions, and that’s where the situation could get dicey.

It is important that you understand that you are under no obligation to answer the officer’s questions. If they make an accusation, you don’t need to respond to it. For example, if the officer states that he believes you’re impaired, you don’t have to say yes or no, and you don’t have to offer an excuse. For example, if you’re on medications, you don’t need to tell the officer that you are. In fact, telling them that you’re on medications could lead to an arrest for driving under the influence, even if you have a prescription.

Why can prescription medications or over-the-counter medications lead to a DUI?

The simple reason is because any kind of drug, whether it is legal or not, has the potential to impact your ability to drive safely. This includes drugs like antihistamines, which may make you drowsy, or sleep aids, which have side effects that take time to wear off. Whether you’re taking cold medicine that you can buy in any local pharmacy or you have a prescription for pain medications, those drugs, and their side effects, could impact your ability to drive safely.

What should you do if you’re accused of driving while impaired?

If you are accused of driving while impaired, you don’t have to say or do anything. The officer has the right to ask you to take a Breathalyzer test and to perform field sobriety tests. You can comply with those requests without stating that you’re taking medications. If the officer decides that he is going to arrest you, you should ask to speak with your attorney and say nothing else in defense of yourself until you have the opportunity to do so and know what to expect. You have rights and should exercise them to protect yourself.