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Drugs and driving under the influence – what you should know

While most driving under the influence (DUI) cases involve alcohol, it is possible to face a DUI charge for operating a vehicle while impaired by many other substances. For example, a law enforcement officer can charge you with a DUI if you are under the influence of a prescription drug. Even if the medication you are taking is a legal prescription from your doctor and you took the correct dosage, you could still be facing some serious consequences if you receive a DUI.

Different kinds of drugs can impact your driving in different ways. For example, the effects of driving under the influence of muscle relaxers can be different from driving under the influence of marijuana.

Testing for impairment

Just like across the rest of the country, New Hampshire has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit of 0.08 percent. Police officers often use field sobriety tests and breathalyzer tests to determine if a driver may have exceeded this limit. When it comes to other substances, such as marijuana, detection becomes a bit more complicated. While the officer will often test for impairment using blood or urine samples, these are not always reliable. For example, if the driver tests positive for marijuana, this does not necessarily indicate that the driver was under the influence at the time of the traffic stop because the drug usually stays in an individual's system for several weeks.

Prescriptions likely to cause impairment

While taking a low dose anti-inflammatory probably will not hinder your driving, there are many prescription drugs that can. For example, antidepressants can have effects very similar to those of drinking and driving. Over-the-counter decongestants often result in drowsiness and can easily impair your judgment behind the wheel. Antihistamines can slow down your reaction time and limit your coordination, which means you may not be able to react in time if something unexpected happens on the road.

If you are facing a DUI charge for operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs, it is important to remember that you have rights and options. With the right defense, you can fight back against the charges.

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