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DUI doesn’t just mean drunk driving

On Behalf of | May 31, 2024 | Criminal Defense

Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol is commonly known as drunk driving. Penalties for this crime could include license suspension, hefty fines, mandated treatment and even prison time.

Even if you had nothing to drink on a night out, could the risk of facing DUI charges still exist? It is possible.

DUI covers other substances

Driving under the influence of any intoxicating substances, not just alcohol, counts as a DUI. This is known as “drugged driving.” These intoxicating substances could be:

  • Illegal substances
  • Prescription medication
  • Some over-the-counter drugs

These controlled substances can severely impair the senses and abilities of a driver. That is why many over-the-counter medications warn individuals not to operate heavy machinery when taking the drug.

Pennsylvania law states that driving under the influence of these types of drugs will face penalties under the highest category of DUI.

Drugged driving is more common than you may think

Figures from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that 11.7 million Americans over the age of 16 drove under the influence of certain illegal drugs in 2021, according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse.

Even if you have a prescription for a potentially impairing medication, it is critical to be aware of the risks. Stay informed about your medications and the side effects, so you can protect your rights and your future.