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Can you be arrested for driving while taking prescription drugs?

Driving while under the influence of drugs can be just as dangerous as drunk driving. In fact, if you are pulled over in Iowa and are found to have any amount of controlled or illegal substance in your bloodstream or urine, you can be charged with OWI.

Different drugs can cause different effects. For example, marijuana can make you drowsy or cause you to hallucinate. Cocaine and methamphetamine can make you euphoric and energetic. All of these drugs can cause trouble behind the wheel, especially if:

  • You were taking a friend's prescription, not your own
  • You were taking your own prescription, but not as directed
  • You were taking your own prescription as directed, but also had been drinking alcohol

Doctors' orders can save the day

In Iowa, having any illicit drugs in your system whatsoever while driving is grounds for arrest, according to the "per se" law, which is essentially a zero-tolerance law. One exception to Iowa's 'per se' law, however, is if you had been taking prescription medication according to doctors' orders. In other words, if your physician had prescribed you an antidepressant and you had been taking it according to directions, and your physician had not instructed you to refrain from driving, you would have a viable defense for OWI.

Be on the safe side or call a lawyer

Prescription drugs can affect people in different ways. Just because a friend drove while taking a prescription drug as directed does not mean you will be able to do so safely. It is better to avoid the situation altogether than to be in a position of needing to find a good lawyer.

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