When people think of DUI charges, they often assume that the driver was under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs. However, many DUI charges stem from drivers taking over-the-counter or prescribed medications. According to Illinois law, a person prohibited from driving a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, intoxicating compounds or any combination of the three that causes the driver to become incapable of driving safely.
An Illinois school bus driver was recently charged with a DUI of medication when he was stopped for erratic driving while transporting a junior high wrestling team home from a school event. The driver was also charged with reckless endangerment of children. According to the school district, the driver had taken all necessary tests earlier in the school year and had passed all of them.
A medication-related DUI generally results in the same penalties as a DUI relating to alcohol or illegal drugs. First-time DUI offenders in Illinois could face a Class A misdemeanor, resulting in license revocation, up to $2,500 in fines and up to one year in jail. In many cases, a driver may be given court supervision instead, and be required to undergo counseling, drug treatment and complete community service. Second-time offenders will also face misdemeanor charges, but with more serious penalties, including 240 hours of community service or a minimum of five days in jail, and up to $2,500 in fines. At the third offense, the charges will be classified as a Class 2 felony, resulting in a 10-year loss of driving privileges, up to 7 years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines.
DUI charges can result in serious consequences that could affect the rest of your life and will require a strong DUI defense. If you are facing a medication-related DUI charge, speak to an attorney as soon as possible.