Operating Under the Influence (OUI) is associated with driving under the influence of alcohol. However, can you face an OUI after taking prescription drugs in Massachusetts? The answer is yes. You can face an OUI in Massachusetts for driving under the influence of prescription drugs. Here is why you need to be careful when taking medications and driving.


What Does the OUI Law State?

In Massachusetts, the law states that a person can be charged with OUI if they operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of liquor, drugs, or a combination of both. 

Do drugs refer to illegal substances or prescribed medications? Under the law, it can mean both. If anyone is operating a vehicle and they are impaired by a prescription drug, it can lead to an OUI. 

The prosecution must establish several elements to secure a conviction if you’ve been arrested. First, the prosecution must show the prescription drug impaired your ability to operate a vehicle in a safe manner. In these cases, they may rely on: 

  • Observations made by the arresting officer
  • Field sobriety test results
  • Chemical tests, such as blood or urine samples

Along with that, the prosecution may have to establish that you had a valid prescription for the drug found in your system. If you possess prescription medications without a valid prescription, that can lead to other legal problems. 

If the case involved both alcohol and prescription drugs, the prosecutors would have to prove that your BAC was above the legal limit.

A Few Defenses in These Cases

If you’re facing an OUI charge related to prescription drugs, your legal team can challenge the case. These defenses can include:

Lack of Impairment

If the prosecution cannot prove that the prescription medications impaired your ability to operate a vehicle, you may have a strong defense. The presence of a drug in your system doesn’t lead to impairment.

Procedural Errors

Law enforcement must follow proper procedures when conducting field sobriety tests, chemical tests, and arrests. Any deviations from the law could be grounds for a successful defense.

Medical Necessity

In some cases, individuals must take prescription medications for legitimate medical conditions. If you had a valid prescription and used the drugs as prescribed, you may be able to argue that you had no choice but to take the medication for health-related reasons.

 However, some prescription medications, such as those labeled with warnings about operating heavy machinery or driving, may carry a higher risk of an OUI charge. These warnings are often included for medications that can cause drowsiness, dizziness, impaired coordination, or other side effects affecting driving ability.

If you want to avoid an OUI charge, always follow your doctor’s advice about the use of these drugs. You should also be aware of any side effects or warnings associated with them. In the end, it is up to you to make sure that your ability to drive is not affected by medications.

Did You Get an OUI After Taking Prescription Drugs in Massachusetts?

When you take prescription drugs, you need to be aware of the potential side effects, especially if you plan to operate a vehicle. If you have been arrested, you need an experienced attorney on your side. 

For over 50 years, the Law Offices of Joseph D. Bernard P.C. has helped thousands of clients resolve their OUI cases. We provide defense legal services to Springfield, Hyannis, Belchertown, and Cape Cod communities. Contact us by calling (413)-731-9995 or texting (413)-225-2072 to schedule a free initial consultation.