When you think of a driving under the intoxication charge, you likely associate alcohol or illegal drugs with the driver’s impairment. Perhaps it is because prescriptions are such a normal part of our everyday culture, but it is not uncommon for the general public to dismiss the thought that driving under the influence of legal drugs can also get them into trouble with the law.

How drugs may affect you

Impairment is about more than a number on a breath test, and it is the impairment that makes you a danger on the road. Many prescription drugs have the potential to cause the following:

  • Drowsiness
  • Exhaustion
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Poor cognitive functioning

With poor cognitive functioning comes poor judgment and all these potential effects and more fall under similar side effects of alcohol impairment. In fact, odds are your prescription bottle contains a warning about using caution or altogether avoiding taking your prescription prior to vehicle operation.

The penalties remain the same

New Jersey law sees a DUI as a DUI, even if the driver’s impairment comes from a substance other than alcohol. For a first-time offense, you may lose your license for a few months and be ordered to attend a mandatory driver’s impairment educational program. For repeat convictions of DUI offenses, you may lose your license for several years.

You should consult your doctor about the effects of your prescription. If it is necessary for you to take your medication prior to hitting the road, consider public transportation or reaching out to a friend or family member for a ride.