Why Answering Police Questions About Prescription Meds Can Get You Charged with DWI

Some drivers are faced with a dilemna when they are stopped by police and interrogated about drinking and driving: should the driver tell the police about prescription medication use? The police will be curious about this, and the question about prescription medications usually precedes field sobriety testing. Answering questions about prescription medications may seem logical and innocuous to the law abiding citizen; answering these questions at the roadside is perilous though.

It is imperative to remember that, like everything else the police do after they have ordered you out of your car, questions about prescription medications are designed to incriminate you. If you tell the police that you are taking prescription medications you are likely to be confronted with a police request for a blood test and then a charge of driving while intoxicated (DWI), driving under the influence (DUI) or operating under the influence (OUI) based on drug impairment or a combination of drug and alcohol impairment. Many drivers think they will help themselves and avoid arrest by saying they were taking prescription medications to account for problems they encounter with "field sobriety tests". Quite to the contrary though, any statements about prescription medications will only be used to prosecute the unwitting driver who is candid with police during a DWI investigation.

It is important to bear in mind that once the police get you OUT of the vehicle for a DWI investigation, the chances are you are not getting back IN to your own vehicle. This is particularly true in roadblocks, where the police are very "numbers driven" in order to justify the funding they receive for the roadblocks and to attempt to justify the trampling of the Constitution that is the hallmark of all roadblocks. "Close ones" or "mild impairment" cases ALL get arrested in a DWI roadblock because the police need to justify blocking the road and infringing on the rights of hundreds of innocent drivers.

Remember to use caution when deciding whether to tell the police ANYTHING, but particular caution should be used when deciding whether to incriminate yourself by answering questions about prescription medications.

Have a safe night,

Mark Stevens
5 Manor Parkway
Salem, NH 03079




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  1. Attorney Stevens,

    I'm curious to know if refusing to answer law enforcement questions about prescription use would include all medications or just controlled medications?

    What if you refuse to answer this question or you respond with a no but your driver's license is marked with a medication restriction? IE; Diabetics who must use insulin or another type of medication. Wouldn't your refusal to answer lead to a negative outcome?

    I also want to make another point about the use of controlled medications, Many people suffer from chronic pain issues and must take opioid/opiate medications.
    The fact that they take them doesn't always mean that they are impaired. If these are taken for extended periods or when pain is severe the body becomes tolerant and impairment is simply not an issue. One would hope that law enforcement agencies would be knowledgeable of this.

  2. Dear G. Andrew,
    Your points about prescription medications, and people who suffer from chronic pain being able to take their prescribed dose without being impaired, are well taken. As far as the answers to the police questioning about taking controlled drugs, this topic has become of such general interest and importance that I am going to write a blog article about it, I hope within the next week or so. Generally speaking, if the officer is asking you about either alcohol OR controlled drug consumption, he has a suspicion you are impaired and you may be in the midst of a DWI investigation and interrogation without even knowing it. Caution should always be used before making any incriminating statements. I hope to post more on this topic soon and I thank you for your thoughtful questions and comments.
    Mark Stevens