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3 types of drugs that could lead to Missouri DWI charges

On Behalf of | Apr 2, 2024 | DWI Defense

The law in Missouri imposes strict regulations on substances that can affect the human body or brain. Controlled substance laws help to protect the public from manufacturers putting addictive substances in products or the dangers of having access to potentially deadly medication without oversight. A physician’s recommendation is necessary to access the vast majority of effective medications. The state requires a doctor’s involvement in someone’s treatment to protect them from side effects and to educate them about the risks inherent in different forms of treatment.

A variety of different types of legally-prescribed drugs can potentially impair someone’s driving ability and could lead to their prosecution for a driving while intoxicated (DWI) offense under Missouri state law, including the following.

Pain medication

The first class of drugs that people think of when discussing drug driving is often prohibited drugs like heroin and methamphetamine. However, narcotic pain relievers are often among the most concerning substances that people may consume. Narcotic pain relievers can affect someone’s cognition or their ability to remain conscious. Even when someone believes they have developed a tolerance to their hydrocodone prescription, police officers can still arrest them for getting behind the wheel with prescription pain medication in their bloodstream.

Muscle relaxants

Someone who suffered whiplash or a soft tissue injury might take medication to relieve muscular tension and inflammation. These medications can reduce someone’s pain without exposing them to narcotics and can help the body heal more rapidly from a traumatic injury. The downside is that muscle relaxants can sometimes make people feel drowsy and may affect their coordination and physical control. Those who take muscle relaxants generally should not drive, and the prescription vials for those drugs indicate as much.

Sleep medication

Doctors can prescribe a variety of different substances to help people who struggle with insomnia achieve better rest. Occasionally, people find themselves called upon to go to work or help a loved one after they have already taken that type of medication. Driving after taking sleep medication can be incredibly dangerous. People may become so drowsy that they cannot stay awake. Their fatigue can also affect their reaction times and their decision-making ability.

There are numerous other prescribed medications, including anti-seizure drugs and a host of different psychiatric medications, that can impair driving ability. Even some over-the-counter medication can potentially lead to DWI prosecution. Motorists who understand what medications can affect their driving ability can potentially prevent DWI charges by staying off the road when they’re potentially impaired. Understanding the consequences of taking certain medications can help people avoid a scenario in which they face legal consequences as a result of a medical issue.

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Travis L. Noble is a graduate of the National College for DUI Defense at Harvard University, and he lectures at seminars nationwide on DWI/DUI topics. He is the lawyer whom other lawyers consult to defend their DWI clients. Most importantly, he has a track record of successfully defending some of the toughest DWI cases in Missouri and beyond.

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