Can You Get A DUI Without Drinking Alcohol?

If you are old enough to drive, chances are that you know it is illegal in every state to consume alcohol before and while operating a motor vehicle. However, if a person is charged with either a DUI (driving under the influence) or DWI (driving while intoxicated), this doesn’t necessarily mean that alcohol was the “influence”. Whether or not you can be charged with a DWI in Springfield, without consuming alcohol is a question that many people ask. The simple answer to this question is yes. The DUI laws of Missouri state that a person can be convicted of a DWI if they are proven to be in operation of a motor vehicle and have either an blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over the legal limit or are in an intoxicated condition in the form of alcohol and/or drugs. In the case of DUIs, the term drugs can extend beyond illegal drugs into prescription drugs and even over-the-counter medicine—all of these factors play into the DUI legal process.

This article outlines the types of drugs that will land you a DUI without consuming alcohol, the protocol a police officer will follow if they have probable cause to believe you’re under the influence of drugs, and how a DWI attorney in Springfield can help.

Drugs That Can Result in a DUI/DWI Charge

pill container

Being under the influence as shown above, is more than just about being under the influence of alcohol. Being under the influence of drugs can also result in a DUI, which is also known as drugged driving.  As you’ll see, some of the drugs that cause symptoms like that of a person who has been drinking, are more commonly used than you think. Additionally, if someone has taken a prescribed medication or over-the counter medication, for example, they may be unaware that they are doing anything wrong. Below are just some of the drugs, that if found in your system, may result in being charged with a DUI or DWI in Springfield, MO.

Over-The-Counter Medications

Since anyone over the age of 18 can purchase over-the-counter medications such as Tylenol, Ibuprofen, or various allergy medicines, most people don’t consider these types of medications to be a problem.  And for the most part, they aren’t. However, some people are more sensitive to the formulations of such over-the-counter medications that help to reduce colds and/or symptoms of allergies. Conversely, some people have been known to abuse over-the-counter medications. The side effects of these drugs, most commonly drowsiness, can affect a person’s ability to drive, especially if a person is sensitive to medications. Depending on the dosage of medication, as well as why the person was pulled over in the first place, can all be grounds for being charged with a Springfield DWI.

Prescription Medications

Even if the medication you have is prescribed by your physician and is “doctor approved”, this doesn’t dismiss the fact that it is a drug. Before taking any medication, whether prescribed or not, make sure to thoroughly read the side effects, directions and warnings that come with your prescription. Many drugs that are prescribed to people by their physicians have a warning that states it is dangerous to drive while under the influence of that particular drug. Most often if it is a medication prescribed to help you sleep, such as Ambien, it is not appropriate to take this prescription and then drive. Note: If you are under the influence of a medication that is not prescribed to you specifically, that would be considered an illegal or street drug.

Illegal Drugs

A street drug is any drug sold illegally and used for its mood-altering, stimulant, or sedative effects. This can include, but is not limited to:

  • Cocaine
  • Crack
  • Methamphetamine
  • LSD
  • Ecstasy
  • Heroine
  • Cannabis

If any of the above drugs are found in your system you will be charged with DWI in Springfield, MO. In addition to the DWI charge, if any of the drugs are found in your possession you may face additional charges against you. If you find yourself in any of these types of situations, it is of the utmost important to contact a criminal defense attorney immediately.

What to Expect When a Police Officer Arrests You for a DUI Without Alcohol

Police officer holding a breathalyzer

If a police officer has probable cause to believe that you are under the influence, they will most likely have you pull over and perform a field sobriety test and/or a breathalyzer test.  Even if the breathalyzer test back comes back low or with a 0% BAC level, if the police officer believes the person is impaired, usually through slurring words, bloodshot eyes, hand tremors, body tremors, droopy eyes, etc, the officer will most likely arrest you.

After being arrested or detained, a blood test will be ordered to determine whether or not any drugs were present in your system at the time of the arrest. Usually, if the officer believes that drugs are responsible for the impairment they will bring in a specialist who is trained to look for signs of drug impairment. These tests are commonly done back at the police station and not at the scene of the arrest.

Talk to a Springfield DWI Attorney Today

There are many misconceptions when it comes to facing a DWI charge in Missouri that was caused by drugs rather than alcohol. Some people think that being charged with this type of crime is harder to fight than a regular DWI, thus their options are limited. This is simply not true.Fighting any type of DWI charge in Springfield, MO only becomes difficult if you choose to proceed without an attorney. This is never a smart decision. A skilled DWI attorney can effectively challenge any charges you may be facing using litigation approaches you may not have even considered. If you or a loved one is facing charges for a DWI in Springfield, we want to help. Contact DWI Springfield today to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys. We understand that these are difficult times and we will work relentlessly to provide you with the best defense for the specific circumstances of your case.

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