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Driving Under the Influence of Prescribed Medications in North Carolina

Driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol is a serious offense in North Carolina. However, some people may not be aware that even driving under the influence of prescribed medications can result in DUI charges. In this article, we will discuss what constitutes driving under the influence of prescribed medications in North Carolina and the penalties for this offense.


What is Driving Under the Influence under North Carolina Law?


Under North Carolina law, driving under the influence is defined as operating a vehicle while under the influence of an impairing substance. This substance can be alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both. Impairing substances include prescription medications that have the potential to impair a person's ability to drive safely.


In North Carolina, a person can be charged with DUI if they have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher or if they are under the influence of impairing substances. It is important to note that even if a person has a valid prescription for a medication, they can still be charged with DUI if the medication impairs their ability to drive safely.


Penalties for Driving Under the Influence in North Carolina


The penalties for driving under the influence of prescribed medications in North Carolina are similar to those for driving under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs. The penalties can include fines, jail time, community service, and license suspension.

  • First Offense: For a first offense, a person can face a fine of up to $4,000 and up to two years in jail. The minimum jail sentence is 24 hours, but this can be increased to a maximum of 60 days if the person's BAC is 0.15% or higher. In addition to fines and jail time, a person's driver's license can be suspended for one year.

  • Second Offense: For a second offense, a person can face a fine of up to $4,000 and up to two years in jail. The minimum jail sentence is seven days, but this can be increased to a maximum of one year if the person's BAC is 0.15% or higher. In addition to fines and jail time, a person's driver's license can be suspended for four years.

  • Third Offense: For a third offense, a person can face a fine of up to $10,000 and up to three years in jail. The minimum jail sentence is 14 days, but this can be increased to a maximum of two years if the person's BAC is 0.15% or higher. In addition to fines and jail time, a person's driver's license can be permanently revoked.


Other Penalties


In addition to the penalties listed above, a person convicted of driving under the influence of prescribed medications may also be required to attend substance abuse treatment and/or perform community service. They may also be required to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in their vehicle, which requires them to pass a breathalyzer test before starting the car.


How South Coast Law Firm Can Assist Someone Accused or Arrested for DUI


Being accused or arrested for driving under the influence of prescribed medications in North Carolina can be a daunting experience. However, the attorneys at the South Coast Law Firm can help. Our experienced DUI defense attorneys will work to protect your rights and ensure that you receive a fair trial.


We understand that each DUI case is unique, and we will work to create a personalized defense strategy that fits your specific situation. We will examine all aspects of your case, including the traffic stop, field sobriety tests, and breathalyzer test, to determine if there were any procedural errors or violations of your rights. We will also work to negotiate with the prosecution to reduce or dismiss your charges if possible. If necessary, we will represent you in court and fight for the best possible outcome.


At the South Coast Law Firm, we believe that everyone deserves a strong defense, regardless of the charges they are facing. Our attorneys have extensive experience defending clients against DUI charges in North Carolina, and we will use our knowledge and expertise to help you navigate the legal system. Contact us now for a confidential and comprehensive consultation.


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