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Prescription Drugs and DUI (OVII) in Hawaii

A person can be charged with operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant does not necessarily only mean alcohol or illegal drugs. A person can be arrested for operating a vehicle under the influence of prescription drugs as well. A prescription drug is any drug required by federal or state statutes, regulations or rules to be dispensed only upon a prescription. A prescription drug is a licensed medicine that needs a prescription before it can be obtained.

While there is no statute for operating a vehicle under the influence of a prescription drug, it is illegal to operate a vehicle while under the influence of any drug that impairs the ability to operate a vehicle in a careful way. Any prescription drug that is taken to alter the ability to drive will fall under the category of an intoxicant. To measure if the drug impaired your ability to operate a vehicle, the police officer must observe the person driving erratically. The police officer must then ask the driver to take a blood or urine test to rule out the presence of illegal drugs. If a person tests positive for a prescribed drug, the person may be charged with an OVII. However, it may be hard to prove that the prescription drug actually impaired the driving. If a person is charged with an OVII for a prescription drug, the person should determine if there were any other cause that could have impaired their driving other than their medication.

A prescription drug can have similar effects as an intoxicated driver. Prescription drugs can affect your brain and impair your reaction time, motor skills and judgment. Prescription drugs can also alter your coordination, attention, balance, cognition and other faculties that are needed for safe driving.  Since some prescription drugs can impair driving, a person who knows they will be driving in the near future should look for labels on the drugs about driving or operating heavy equipment after taking the medication.


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