Your prescription medication is legal to possess and use in the way a doctor prescribes. However, there are many limitations on what you can and can’t do while using some prescription drugs.
For example, when you are on certain medications, like narcotic painkillers, you may not be able to safely and legally operate a vehicle. Many medications come with a warning not to drive or operate heavy machinery while using them.
If you have a prescription for such a medication, you might think that those warning labels on the vial are just recommendations. However, if a North Carolina police officer pulls you over, they could charge you with a crime.
Prescription medication can impair your driving
Alcohol is not the only mind-altering chemical that is illegal to use before driving. Any chemical substance, including prescription drugs and prohibited drugs, that affects your response time, cognition, consciousness or motor function could impair your driving ability.
People don’t just get arrested and charged with impaired driving offenses for failing a roadside breath test but also for being under the influence of prohibited drugs or prescription medication. Even over-the-counter medicines like cough syrups or sleep aids could affect someone’s driving ability. The legality of the medication matters far less than how recently you took it and how strongly it affects your driving skills.
Impaired driving offenses due to prescription drugs can cost you your license, lead to jail time and mean major fines if you don’t fight back. Avoiding an arrest in the first place is ideal, but there are often options for defending yourself if you do get arrested.