If you believe charges for driving while intoxicated (DWI) are only brought against those driving under the influence of alcohol or dangerous drugs such as cocaine and marijuana, it is important to understand that you can also be arrested for operating a vehicle under the influence of prescription drugs. While pain medication is often the main culprit, other medications (even those considered over-the-counter) may equally impair your ability to drive.
It is a common misconception that if something that is technically legal, such as prescribed medications, then you are immune from prosecution for anything associated with you taking that medication. However, think of medication like alcohol. Consumption of alcohol is technically legal for individuals 21 years of age and older. It is only where alcohol is combined with driving that potential DWI charges result. So the practice of taking prescribed medication is okay as long as it is not combined with driving a vehicle.
The following medications are known to increase your chances of getting arrested for a DWI in Texas:
- Vicodin and other painkillers
- Cough syrups with codeine
- Tylenol PM
First-time DWI arrest for prescription drugs will result in a Class B misdemeanor, which is punishable by a maximum jail sentence of 180 days and a fine of up to $2,000.