Can Prescription Drugs Cause Distracted Driving Accidents?

If you cause an accident while under the influence of a prescription drug and are facing criminal charges, working with a skilled criminal defense attorney may aid your case.

Being arrested for causing an accident can be terrifying, especially if the crash was truly an accident. Unfortunately, even if you did not mean to cause the crash, you could still be facing criminal charges and the possibility of large fines, jail or prison time, and other severe penalties. If you were under the influence of a prescription drug at the time of the crash, this could impact your criminal case. Here is what you should know about how prescription drugs can cause distracted driving accidents and how your criminal case may be impacted.

Common Side Effects of Some Prescription Drugs

All side effects of prescription drugs should be disclosed by the manufacturer of the drugs, as well as your doctor or pharmacist. While different prescription drugs have different effects, some common side effects of prescription drugs that could increase the risk of a distracted driving or impaired driving accident include:

  • Anxiety
  • Blurred vision
  • Drowsiness
  • Reduced reaction time
  • Trouble focusing
  • Hallucinations
  • Driving while asleep
  • Nausea
  • Lack of coordination
  • Fainting/loss of consciousness

Side effects like the above are most common when taking antidepressants, sleep medications, opioids, tranquilizers, stimulants, and anxiety medications. However, this list is not inclusive.

Criminal Charges Following a Distracted Driving Accident

If you have caused an accident while on prescription drugs that caused severe harm or death to another party, you could be facing charges for:

The above charges can lead to serious penalties if the prosecution is successful in securing a conviction.

Possible Defenses if You Were Impaired by a Prescription Drug

If you caused the accident because of side effects caused by taking a prescription drug, you may be able to use this as a defense against the criminal charges you are facing. Depending on the details of your case, you may be able to claim involuntary intoxication or impairment because of taking the drug. If your attorney can provide that you committed a wrongful act because of involuntary intoxication/impairment, you may be excused from responsibility or the charges against you may be reduced. It will be important that your attorney can prove that your intoxication was indeed involuntary and that you had no intent to operate your vehicle while intoxicated, impaired, or distracted.

How Our Experienced Criminal Defense Attorneys in Austin Can Help

At the office of Granger and Mueller PC, our experienced Austin criminal defense attorneys have worked on cases involving intoxicated and distracted drivers in the past and know how to build strong defenses for our clients. If you have been charged with a criminal traffic offense such as a DWI or vehicular manslaughter, you need a skilled attorney on your side. Reach out to our law firm immediately for the legal help you can trust.