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Take a prescription medication? You could get a DUI in Nebraska

Nearly 70 percent of Americans take prescription drugs according to the Mayo Clinic. Prescription medications are so common that your next door neighbor might take her Valium before getting in the car to pick up some groceries. Be careful before turning the car key because it is possible to get pulled over and charged with a DUI that will last on your record for 15 years.

Legally prescribed medications can land you a DUI if you are suspected of impaired driving by a police officer. Many prescriptions have drowsy side effects; for example, antidepressants can cause similar impairment effects as alcohol.

Typical prescriptions such as Valium and Xanex can cause drowsiness, but some people do not know that even over the counter drugs can land you a DUI. Drug store medications such as antihistamines can cause impairment when driving. It is easy to ignore the little warning on the bottle when you need to get somewhere quick, but drugged driving can be very dangerous. According to the CDC, drugs other than alcohol are involved in about 16% of motor vehicle crashes.

Driving under the influence of drugs is treated with the same penalties as alcohol

In Nebraska it is illegal to drive a car under the influence of any drug. There are no quick and easy ways to determine how much of a drug is in your system like there is with alcohol. If a police officer suspects you are impaired while driving and spot a pill bottle laying in the back seat, then they can run field sobriety tests and arrest you.

Drugged driving is considered just as serious of an offense as drunk driving and is treated with the same penalties. Penalties for a DUI in Nebraska include:

  • 1st offense: Up to 60 days in jail and $500 in fines
  • 2nd offense: Up to 1 year in jail and $1,000 in fines
  • 3rd offense: Up to 1 year in jail and $10,000 in fines

License suspension is possible on a first offense. If you are charged with a DUI for drugged driving then a drug test will be mandatory. Nebraska has an implied consent law which means you have to take a chemical test or you will be subject to a fine and license suspension for 90 days.

Defending a drugged driving charge

There are ways defend a drugged driving charge. Some possible defenses include:

  • The drug test was invalid
  • You were involuntarily intoxicated
  • The officer lacked reasonable suspicion for the traffic stop

If you have found yourself charged with drugged driving then it is best to speak with an experienced attorney.

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