CAN I GET A DUI WHILE ON METHADONE MAINTENANCE TREATMENT?
You have finally taken the bull by the horns and decided to address your substance abuse issues. You suffered under the yoke of your opioid addiction for far too long. Now, you are enrolled at a licensed methadone clinic and are following your doctor’s orders and prescribed dosage.
But now you wonder if you could get arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) of your perfectly legal methadone treatment. You have to drive to and from the clinic and to your job. What are you facing legally if you drive on methadone?
Properly Prescribed Methadone Should Not Impair You
The good news is that the chemical structure of methadone is designed not to provide addicts the “high” they previously sought from heroin and other opioids while still keeping their bodies functioning and not dealing with withdrawal. But it can take your doctor a little while to tweak your dose to the optimum maintenance level. During those early days, or if your doctor gives you more than you need to be comfortable, you could easily be too impaired to drive.
The bad news is that the police can arrest a person for DUI if they are impaired by any perfectly legal over-the-counter (OTC) meds and legally prescribed prescription drugs. The key here is whether the medication adversely affects your driving, not that you took it as prescribed.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF STOPPED BY POLICE WHILE ON METHADONE?
First, admit nothing and exercise your Constitutional right to remain silent. Do not tell the officer that you are on methadone. Cooperate with the arresting officer and assert your right to speak to a criminal defense attorney before answering any police questions.