Prescription Drugs DUI

Most people associate DUIs with driving under the influence of alcohol, marijuana, or psychostimulants, like cocaine and methamphetamine. However, there are countless substances that can impair one’s ability to operate a vehicle. In Arizona, it is unlawful to drive a vehicle if a person is “impaired to the slightest degree” by the use of any drugs, alcohol, or combination, thereof. This means that even impairments caused by prescription drugs and over-the-counter drugs could lead to a DUI conviction.

What Is Considered A Prescription Drug?

A.R.S. §13-3401 describes prescription drugs as one that produces a potentially harmful or toxic effect and is recognized by the medical community as a drug that is safe for use only if it is prescribed by a licensed physician or other qualified Medical Practitioner.

In general, use caution operating a vehicle when using prescription drugs that cause sedating, drowsiness, anxiety, dizziness, slows reaction time, and/or impairs coordination.

Below is a list of commonly abused prescription drugs that can impair drivers:

  • OxyContin
  • Ambien
  • Ritalin
  • Adderall
  • Vicodin
  • Valium
  • Percocet
  • Xanax
  • Hydrocodone

Classifications and Penalties

Prescription drug DUIs carry the same penalties as alcohol or marijuana charges.

For first-time offenders, the DUI charge will be brought as a Class 1 Misdemeanor if there are no aggravated factors.

Penalties:

  • 10 days in jail
  • $1,250 fines, fees, costs, and assessments
  • Suspension of driver’s license
  • Probation
  • Substance abuse education, counseling, or treatment

Penalties for second DUI offenses within 7 years of the first conviction include:

  • 90 days incarceration
  • $3,000 fines, fees, and costs
  • Revocation of driver’s license for 1 year
  • Probation
  • Substance abuse education, counseling, or treatment

Penalties for third and subsequent DUI are elevated to Felony DUI offenses and include:

  • 4 months in prison
  • At least $4,000 fines, fees, and costs
  • 3 years revocation of driver’s license
  • Probation or community service
  • Felony criminal record

Note: Other criminal and civil penalties may apply