Can Antidepressants Affect My Driving?
Unlike many other prescription drugs, antidepressants are less frequently used for recreational purposes. As a result, the people who take this type of drug are often those who need it in order to treat a diagnosed condition. Patients expect their prescription medication to normalize their condition, not impair their driving. Few expect that taking a prescribed drug could get them in legal trouble, but unfortunately, that’s exactly what happens to many people who live with antidepressant or other mood-altering medication. You are not alone. The number of people taking these medications is already substantial and increasing over time.
How Antidepressants Impact Your Ability To Navigate Roads Safely
Antidepressant medications such as Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft and Lexapro are used to treat depression and other mental health conditions. Although these medications are effective in alleviating symptoms of depression, they have other effects on patients. Notably, antidepressants can slow down a driver’s reaction time, making it difficult for them to respond to sudden changes on the road. These changes may or may not support DUI charges.
Every patient reacts differently to medication. Doctors typically recommend that patients avoid driving after taking antidepressants until they see how their body responds to the medication. Some patients may not experience any unusual side effects, while others may experience extreme drowsiness and slowed reaction times.
The law states that a driver can face criminal charges for driving under the influence of any drug that impairs their ability to operate a vehicle. In daily life, if law enforcement officers encounter drivers they believe may be under the influence of a drug, medication, or substance that person is subject to arrest. The reality is that an enormous segment of our population is at risk of arrest anytime they drive a vehicle, especially if they disclose their prescription(s) to the police. When police officers are informed that a driver has a prescription for mood altering medication, or other potentially impairing medicine, the officer is cued to investigate the driver’s potential impairment.
People who are charged with DUID can face serious penalties if they are convicted. Most DUID charges are classified as misdemeanors, but DUID can be a felony for repeat offenders or for drivers who have injured or killed another.
We Can Defend You Against DUID Charges
Many people do not realize that they are committing a crime when they are driving under the influence of their prescribed antidepressant medication. The legal term “under the influence” is also frequently misunderstood for its common meaning, which is not the same. Because of this, they are shocked to hear that they are being arrested and charged with a crime.
It’s completely understandable to feel scared or nervous during this time, but it’s important to remember that a charge does not always lead to a conviction and the most severe penalties are not imposed in most cases. This is why your criminal defense attorney’s prowess is crucial.
Don’t fight these charges alone and don’t accept lesser representation. Speak with the experienced DUID attorneys at The Law Offices of Todd Landgren. To schedule a free consultation, call our law office at 949-535-1303 or fill out the form on our website today.