October 11, 2022

Can You Get a DUI For Prescription Drugs in Arizona?

Can you get a DUI from taking medications prescribed by your doctor? The answer to this question is complicated.

can you get a dui for prescription drugs

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Contributors & Editors

Dane Perikly

Director of Virtual Services & DUI Education

Last Update on July 5, 2023

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It’s no secret that driving under the influence of alcohol is illegal. But can you get a DUI for prescription drugs? The answer to this question is complicated.

In this blog post, we will explore the issue of prescription drug DUIs and discuss some factors that can contribute to a potential arrest and conviction.

Stay safe on the road – read on to discover more!

Searching for help with drug and/or alcohol addiction? Call us now at (888) 822-0306.

Can you get a DUI from prescription medication?

Can a police office give you a DUI for prescription medications? The simple answer is yes – but it’s not always that easy. To be convicted of a DUI, the prosecution must prove that you were impaired while driving. This can be difficult to do with prescription drugs, as many variables exist. The type and dosage of medication, your body’s reaction to the drug, and other factors can all play a role in whether or not you are considered impaired. If you are taking prescription medication and plan to drive, it is important to be aware of the potential risks. Make sure to talk to your doctor about how the medication might affect your driving ability. And always err on the side of caution – if you feel even slightly impaired, it is better to stay off the road. The FDA has a resource1 on maintaining safety while driving with medications in your system.

What types of prescription medication can get you a DUI?

Any medication that can cause impairment can technically lead to a DUI charge. However, some medications are more likely to result in a conviction. Medications commonly cause drowsiness or impaired judgment – such as painkillers, anxiety medication, and sleeping pills – are most likely to result in a DUI charge. If you are taking any of these medications, it is important to be extra careful when driving.

Examples of controlled substance prescriptions

that have been known to cause DUI charges are:
  • Ambien
  • Ativan
  • Klonopin
  • Librium
  • Lunesta
  • Restoril
  • Xanax
While this is not an exhaustive list, it gives you an idea of the types of drugs that can potentially lead to a DUI. If taking any of these medications, be sure to talk to your doctor about the risks of driving while under the influence. Interestingly enough, this has been studied for quite some time and there are documents2 going all the way back to 1988 that were created to help us understanding drug impairment and driving.

What happens if you get pulled over for a DUI on prescription drugs?

If you are pulled over and suspected of driving under the influence of prescription drugs, the police officer will likely ask you to submit to a field sobriety test. 

This test is designed to assess your level of impairment and can include things like walking in a straight line or reciting the alphabet backward.

If the officer believes you are impaired, you will be placed under arrest and brought to the police station for a chemical test. 

This test – usually a blood or urine sample – will determine the level of drugs in your system.

If the chemical test shows impaired, you will be charged with a DUI. 

The penalties for a prescription drug DUI can be just as severe as an alcohol-related DUI, so it is important to take these charges seriously.

Let us help you get started with your DUI
screening and classes today.

What should you do if you got a DUI while using prescription medication?

If you have been charged with a DUI, it is important to seek legal help as soon as possible. An experienced DUI attorney can review your case and help you understand your options. 

In some cases, it may be possible to get the charges reduced or dismissed. Don’t try to go through the process alone – contact a knowledgeable attorney today. 

If you’ve already had your license revoked or suspended, you w ill likely have to go through some type of DUI classes. 

If you got a DUI in Arizona and are looking to take DUI classes online, we at Cornerstone can help you resolve your situation. 

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Author & Reviewers

dane perikly dui writer headshot

Dane Perikly


Dane is the Director of Virtual services at Cornerstone. He contributes guides on DUI education so that you can understand all there is to know about DUI charges, education, and the overall process of meeting Arizona requirements after a DUI. He cares deeply about raising awareness of the dangers of DUI and illustrating the impact on victims and on those charged. 

lionel estrada lisac clinical director

Lionel is the Clinical Director of Cornerstone’s Scottsdale treatment facilities. He has had over 4 years at Cornerstone. He is personally in recovery and passionate about helping others overcome substance abuse and mental health challenges, he is trained as an EMDR, adopting a trauma-informed approach to treat the underlying issues of conditions.

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