The state of California treats all substances equally if they cause impairment, even legal prescription drugs like Xanax. That means it is not uncommon for drivers to be arrested for DUI—and potentially convicted—simply for taking prescription medication. Xanax is one of the most common prescription drugs we see involved in DUI cases.
If you have been arrested for DUI for using Xanax, with or without also drinking alcohol, you should know that it is possible to defend your case. You may not have to go to jail, lose your license, or even face a conviction.
What is Xanax and how does it affect driving?
Xanax is a brand name of the drug alprazolam. It is used primarily to treat anxiety disorders, panic attacks, and anxiety caused by depression (although it is not generally used to treat depression itself). When taken, it produces a pleasant relaxed feeling, making Xanax popular as a recreational drug. Recreational use is not recommended and Xanax should never be used except as prescribed by a doctor.
Anyone using Xanax is under the influence of a mind-altering drug, albeit a mild one. According to the state of California, it is illegal to drive under the influence of any substance that affects the muscles, the brain or the nervous system—and that certainly includes Xanax. Taken on its own, in normal doses, Xanax does not disorient the individual the way that drinking does, but it does potentially slow reaction time and impair judgment, making it unsafe to drive while using it.
Xanax is a member of the benzodiazepine family of drugs, and the above also applies to other medications in this family, such as Valium and Ativan.
Mixing Xanax with Alcohol
Many Xanax DUI cases also involve alcohol—often just one or two drinks. These two substances are a powerful combination, because Xanax boosts the effects of alcohol. After having one drink on Xanax, you may feel like you had three or four—or you may not notice the intoxication at all until it suddenly sneaks up on you. People can easily become debilitatingly drunk when they mix alcohol and Xanax, often with little warning.
One dangerous side effect of the alcohol/Xanax mix is amnesia. Perhaps because of the heightened alcohol effect, you can quickly reach a “blackout” stage where you don’t remember what happened. Many drivers will wake up in jail after their DUI arrest with no memory of what happened or what they did wrong.
Mixing Xanax with other drugs can also be risky. Drugs have unpredictable effects when combined, and combinations of pills are often to blame for DUI arrests.
You Can Win Your Xanax DUI Case
Have you been charged with DUI? We can connect you with an experienced Los Angeles DUI lawyer and get you a FREE consultation. Fill out the form to the right or call (310) 862-0199 and get your free consultation today.