When you hear the term “DUI” you probably imagine someone getting busted for drinking and driving. That’s the case for the majority of DUI cases in Illinois, but you can also earn a DUI if you’re caught driving under the influence of prescription or illegal drugs. Today, we take a closer look at how Illinois handles these types of DUIs.
Drugged Driving in Illinois
Drugged driving is prosecuted under the same statute as a DUI offense where a driver was intoxicated on alcohol. According to 625 ILCS 5/11-501, a person can actually earn a DUI in a few different ways:
- Driving under the influence of alcohol
- Driving under the influence of prescription drugs
- Driving under the influence of illegal drugs
- Driving under the influence of any intoxicating compound
So while it’s pretty straightforward to understand that driving under the influence of illegal drugs would be considered a DUI, what about when you are legally prescribed those medications by a doctor? Can you still get a DUI even if you’re legally taking the medication? The answer is yes, but how that matter is proved to a jury is different than a DUI with illegal drugs.
When you are charged with driving under the influence of illegal drugs, the state only needs to prove that a person operated a motor vehicle while under the influence of illegal drugs. However, if you are charged with a DUI as a result of taking prescription drugs, the state needs to prove that you were operating a motor vehicle under the influence of prescription drugs, and these drugs rendered a person incapable of safely driving. When it comes to prescription drug DUIs in Illinois, the biggest issue in trial is whether or not the person could drive a car safely.
Some factors that are used to make the argument that a person was or was not rendered incapable of safely driving include:
- Was the driver involved in an accident?
- Was the driver the cause of the accident?
- Did the driver commit any traffic violations?
- Did the traffic violation put other drivers or pedestrians in danger?
While it’s harder for the prosecution to prove a DUI in instances involving prescription drugs compared to illegal drugs, it’s not going to be easy for you to prove that the medication did not influence your driving abilities. Because of this, we always recommend that you hire an experienced DUI attorney to help prove your innocence, because a drugged driving DUI carries severe consequences, just like a normal alcohol-related DUI.