Like most people, you may associate impaired driving with intoxication from alcohol. Drunk driving is a common offense and receives lots of attention. However, it is not the only substance that causes impairment in a driver. Drugs of all kinds do too.
It is important to know what drugs you can and cannot take before driving to avoid criminal charges. The consequences can be severe, so become familiar with Michigan law on the matter.
Drugs that have notable side effects and high rates of dependency are controlled substances. They fall under different categories, or schedules, based on their risk level. The most dangerous drugs are Schedule 1, which have no medical benefits. Examples include the following:
- Opiates and opium derivates
- Synthetic cannabinoids
All of these are illegal to have in your body in any amount while behind the wheel. Cocaine, although not a Schedule 1 drug, is also illegal to be in your body if you are driving in Michigan.
Prescription and over-the-counter medication
Prescription medications also come with impairment risk. Even OTC drugs that are completely legal to use may get you in trouble on the road. They may contain ingredients that can cause drowsiness or excitability, both of which negatively influence your ability to drive.
Effects can become unpredictable and complex when you take multiple drugs at once or add alcohol to the mix. It is best to discuss the safety of medications with a health care provider or pharmacist before you take them to know if you can drive.
This may seem like unnecessary effort, but a conviction of drugged driving can lead to a license suspension, court fees and fines, jail time and rehabilitation programs. If you cause an accident that leads to severe injury or death of another person, the offense rises to felony level, which comes with greater consequences. While the best approach is prevention, defense is possible if you find yourself facing drugged driving charges.