Methadone is considered an opioid or a narcotic. It is generally used to help individuals who are attempting to withdraw from a heroin addiction, although it can be used as a pain reliever for various other ailments or drug addiction detoxification programs.
[caption id="" align="alignright" width="300" caption="South Carolina State House (Photo credit: Wikipedia)"][/caption]
Like other medications, Methadone can have serious side-effects such as confusion, dizziness, light-headedness, drowsiness, excessive sweating, dry mouth, and chest pain. Warnings for this medication also indicate that the side-effects may be more serious the first few days of ingestion or if it is combined with other substances such as alcohol.
What is DUI?
Driving under the influence, in most states, generally also includes driving under the influence of drugs (including prescription medications). Definitions can vary by state but generally states will consider a person under the influence of drugs if the drug affected the drivers nervous system, brain or the muscles of the driver to such a degree that they were not able to operate their motorized vehicle safely and they were impaired to an appreciable degree. The state will analyze if the driver was operating the car in a similar fashion as another prudent and cautious person would have operated it given similar circumstances.
What does this mean for me?
If you have been taking a medication such as Methadone and you were impaired and the state can prove that taking the medication affected your mental or physical capabilities to such a degree that you were not able to safely operate your vehicle you could be convicted of driving under the influence of drugs. As mentioned above, the state may not care that the drugs were prescribed, over the counter, or illegal.
Does Methadone impair driving?
There is evidence to suggest that methadone does not impair cognitive functions, and many experts agree that Methadone has no adverse effects on the mental capacity of users. Additionally, it is not supposed to intoxicating or sedating.Proving this to licensing authorities may be another thing, especially if the user is mixing it with other substances such as alcohol or Valium.
The best thing to do if you are arrested for driving under the influence of Methadone is to prove that you were supplied the drug legally and you were driving safely, which begs the question of why you would have been arrested. If you committed another traffic offense but you can prove that you were not under the influence of drugs, however, you may potentially be able to have your DUI charges reduced to a lesser offense.
Hiring a DUI lawyer
If you have been arrested for driving under the influence of drugs it is time to talk to a DUI lawyer. DUI lawyers handle driving under the influence cases like this all the time and have the expertise and knowledge to evaluate your driving under the influence case and determine if you will be able to defend yourself against these charges or if it is best to fight for some type of plea agreement.