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Prescription Drugs and DUI in Tennessee

Driving under the influence does not only relate to alcohol but drugs as well. In Tennessee, driving or in physical control of any motor vehicle while under the influence of any legal or illegal drug including any intoxicant, marijuana, controlled substance, drug or substance affecting the central nervous system or combination thereof that impairs the driver’s ability to drive safely can be grounds for a DUI conviction according to § 55-10-401.  Further, just because a doctor prescribed you a medication, this is not a defense for driving under the influence. § 55-10-402 states that “the fact that any person or persons who drive while under the influence of narcotic drugs, or shall drive while under the influence of barbital drugs, or is entitled to use such drugs under the laws of this state, shall not constitute a defense to the violation of §§55-10-401-55-10-401.”

Unlike alcohol or other illegal drugs, there is no minimum or maximum threshold of prescription drug use one must consume in order to be convicted of a DUI. This means that you can be convicted of a DUI for having even the slightest amount of prescription drugs in your system. The penalties for driving under the influence of drugs are the same for driving under the influence of alcohol depending on the type of offense.


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