Some Prescription Drugs Are Illegal To Take While Driving In Sarasota Florida

Drivers in Sarasota, Bradenton, and Venice are fully aware that laws are in place in Florida against driving while drunk. In fact, unlike distracted driving which is illegal but not considered a criminal act, drunk driving is a criminal violation, not a civil one, with possible jail time attached to a drunk driving charge as a penalty. However, driving while under the influence applies to more than just alcohol. Driver impairment can arise from the use of illegal drugs as well, such as marijuana, and Sarasota drivers can be charged with driving under the influence if they are using drugs such as marijuana as well.

What may surprise some drivers in Bradenton and Venice, however, is that even drugs considered legal may also fall under the purview of being considered a substance that can result in charges if people have consumed them before driving.

Legal Doesn’t Mean Harmless

Drivers should always remember that whether a substance is considered legal or not has no bearing on its ability to impair driving ability. Alcohol is a prime example of this. Even though it is not illegal to purchase or consume alcohol, it is illegal to drink it, then drive. The same is true for marijuana. Other states have legalized it for recreational use, similar to alcohol or tobacco, while Florida only permits it for medicinal purposes with a prescription. However, marijuana’s ability to impair reflexes and judgment is well documented, so even with a prescription, consuming marijuana and then driving can result in accidents and criminal charges afterward.

The same is true for some other types of prescription medication. In Florida, the following medications, while legal to consume if prescribed by a doctor, are illegal to use if you plan to drive:


Hydrocodone, better known as Vicodin, codeine, Fentanyl, and morphine, are all considered opioids, usually prescribed as painkillers. In their function to help pain management, they work very well. However, they also bring side effects such as euphoria, drowsiness, and lightheadedness, which can severely impact situation awareness and reflexes.

People who drive while under the influence of opioids will be slower to react to road situations than those who drive sober.


Some medications are stimulants that are prescribed to help with focus and concentration. Adderall and Ritalin, for example, are sometimes prescribed to people with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, to help improve focus and situation awareness. In theory, these drugs should help, not hinder driving, and to some extent, this can be the case.

However, the biggest risk with these stimulants is what happens after they wear off. The tiredness and fatigue that come several hours after consuming Adderall or Ritalin can leave drivers in the same state of poor awareness and drowsiness as someone awake all night.


Medications such as Diazepam, more popularly known as Valium, Alprazolam, or Xanax, are usually prescribed as anti-anxiety medications to help with issues such as alcohol withdrawal, depression, and a host of other problems.

However, similar to opioids, these types of medications can severely impair judgment and reflexes. In addition to their anti-anxiety properties, tranquilizers have a host of potential side effects, including lightheadedness, difficulty with coordination, clumsiness and unsteadiness, drowsiness, and a host of others, depending on the specific medication that has been taken.

If you’ve been in a traffic accident where the other driver claims they did not consume alcohol but were under the influence of prescription medication, you may have been injured by someone committing a criminal act. Talk to an experienced auto accident attorney about what’s happened to you. You can get the help you need to get compensation for an injury that happened to you while someone else was committing an illegal act.

Video FAQ:

0:02 / 0:58 What If A Texting Driver Caused Your Accident?

Michael Babboni

Michael J. Babboni's wide-ranging legal career is based on the strong belief that everyone should be treated fairly and have access to effective legal help. Michael began putting his beliefs in action by helping the people of St. Petersburg Florida get what they are owed in civil trials fighting to protect families by making corporations pay, and honor their obligations.



Client Testimonials

Attorney David Goldman has been exceptional in the process of helping me through the case. He has always been easy to reach, whether by phone or email, and has thorough knowledge and explains clearly in depth so you feel safe and confident in your lawyer

I used Michael Babboni and his paralegal, Nicole Moore for a legal matter. They went above and beyond my expectations. During the entire process there was constant communication with both Michael and Nicole. They were extremely organized and on top of my case, which I am very grateful for. Michael truly had my best interests at heart and he was very genuine. I plan on referring Michael to all family and friends and will continue to use him in the future.

I dealt most with Mr. Fernandez. I didn’t know a lot about this process. He took the time to speak with me individually, in person, to explain everything. It was very helpful to actually know and understand the process and what to expect. He closed my case quickly, which was nice that it was not prolonged! I appreciated his hard work and getting me what I felt I deserved after my car accident. I highly recommend him to anyone who needs an honest and reliable lawyer to assist you with your case!

I hired Mr. Walsh after an automobile accident this past March. He and his entire staff were extremely professional. They kept me informed every step of the way and settled my case in a timely manner. Thank you so much for your help.


Law Offices Near You

Sarasota Office

Sarasota Personal Injury Law Office


2822 University Parkway Sarasota Florida 34243

Bradenton Office



1215 Manatee Ave West Bradenton Florida 34205

St. Petersburg Office

St. Petersburg


6446 Central Avenue St. Petersburg Florida 33707

Lakewood Ranch Office



9040 Town Center Pkwy, Lakewood Ranch Florida 34202

Venice Office



3986 S. Tamiami Trail Venice Florida 34293

Englewood Office



2960 S. McCall Rd Englewood Florida 34224

Punta Gorda Office

Punta Gorda


122 Nesbit St, Suite 113, Punta Gorda Florida 33950

Port Charlotte Office

Port Charlotte


3986 Tamiami Trail Port Charlotte Florida 33952

Arcadia Office



10 South DeSoto Avenue Arcadia Florida 34266

Fort Myers Office

Fort Myers


8359 Beacon Blvd Fort Myers Florida 33907

Lakeland Office



5137 S. Lakeland Dr. Lakeland Florida 33813

Get personal attention from a lawyer with decades of experience.