Personal Attention.
Aggressive Defense.

Photo of Thomas C. Mooney

Perfectly legal medication can lead to drugged driving charges

On Behalf of | Apr 29, 2024 | Drug Charges

It is illegal to drive while under the influence of mind-altering substances in Maryland. Drivers typically recognize that police officers may arrest them if they get behind the wheel after drinking too much. Many people also understand that driving while under the influence of prohibited drugs could lead to criminal charges.

However, the legality of the drugs that someone has consumed before driving has little bearing on impaired driving charges. Perfectly lawful substances can still lead to an individual’s prosecution for impaired driving under Maryland statutes.

Legal drugs can affect driving ability

While prohibited drugs may have a very dramatic negative impact on someone’s ability to safely drive, plenty of legal drugs are equally dangerous for those in control of a motor vehicle. Certain over-the-counter medications, including sleep aids and cold or cough medicines can make people drowsy or affect their decision-making abilities.

A host of different prescription medications come with warnings about driving or operating heavy machinery because of how they affect the body and the brain. Muscle relaxants, anti-epilepsy drugs, psychiatric medications and narcotic pain relievers are among the numerous prescription drugs that people cannot consume before driving because of the impact the drugs can have on their abilities.

Drugs that affect hand-eye coordination, muscular control, cognition and wakefulness are all potentially dangerous for people to take before driving. Any medication labeled with a warning about the impact it may have on someone’s ability to drive is a medication that they should not take before getting behind the wheel.

Maryland police officers can arrest anyone who is under the influence of a drug that affects their ability. The state may pursue drugged driving charges that can lead to fines, jail time and license penalties. There is no legal limit for mild-altering drugs the way there is for alcohol. Any amount in someone’s bloodstream could be sufficient reason to bring criminal charges against them.

People who understand these risks can make better choices about when they drive and when they ask others for assistance to avoid impaired driving charges. Learning about what medications can potentially lead to criminal prosecution may be beneficial for those who have recommendations for prescribed drugs.