Interviewer: Coming back to the prescription medication, or as you said, drugs, does this mean that every person on a prescription medication is under the influence or intoxicated and at risk for a DWI, DUI, or OWI?
Nathan: I think that’s the $10,000 question. Our state makes it very easy to charge people who are on prescription medications as being under the influence or impaired based on the prescription medications they’re on. A lot of people take prescription medications, because they need to be able to function.
Are they impaired by it? It depends on your definition of impaired. Maybe they’re using that to remain normal. What about somebody who is bipolar or has a form of Attention Deficit Disorder? Do you want that person to be the way that they, unfortunately, normally, are or would you rather have them on their prescription medication so that they can function as a normal human being?
Vague Laws Make it Dangerous for Any Driver on Medication
It’s a very scary world out there, and that’s why a lot of people come to me with prescription medication cases. The law is very vague. There’s hundreds of questions that I could answer on this, but one of the most interesting things that I would point out about prescription medication impairment is that when they charge you for that they will bring somebody in who will testify to the level of drugs, again, that are in your system ‑‑ not medications ‑‑ and they will say you are impaired.
Impairment is Always Seen as Impairment
The people who will come in are from the State Hygiene Lab, and they will not testify to the fact that you are under a doctor’s care. They will not look at your medical background. They will not look at how long you’ve been on prescription medications. They will not look at or consider whether or not you have a tolerance to a prescription.
They basically see this as a level and that is impairing, and that is it.