Prescription Sleep Aids: Driving While Under the Influence of a Drug

Everyone knows that it is illegal to operating a vehicle while under the influence or intoxicated due to the consumption of alcohol.  It is also well known that operating while under the influence or with the presence of an illegal or controlled substance in one’s system is illegal.  However, what if someone unknowingly operates a vehicle while under the hypnotic effects of a sleeping medications such as Ambien or Lunesta?

There are well documented reports of people, while under the effects of such prescription sleep aids, performing complex tasks, such as eating, engaging in sexual activity, doing chores, sleepwalking, and even …yes, sleep driving.  Individuals under the effects of the medication may perform these tasks and have absolutely no idea they are doing them or possess any recollection later of such activities.

Recently, the FDA has suggested physicians reduce the prescription doses in part due to such side effects.

The medications work to place a person into a hypnotic state in which sleep can be achieved; however, for some, it does not completely shut down the brain.  It does not impair motor function.

Make sure you speak to your physician if you have any concerns regarding side effects.  If you or someone you know has found themselves facing criminal charges and such a medication may be a factor, please contact our office.

Jason Elmore
Criminal Defense Attorney
McCurdy Wotila & Porteous, PC
Cadillac, MI