Skip to main content

My doctor prescribed xanax which I only take ocassionally, is it legal to drive if it is in your system in small amounts?

Riverside, CA |

I don't want to get into any trouble and was wondering if this drug is in my system is it still legal to drive a vehicle? the doctor didnt say I could not drive

+ Read More

Attorney answers 10

Best Answer

This is a difficult question to answer. There is no per se legal limit with respect to driving with Xanax in your system. Put another way, it is not illegal to drive with Xanax in your system. However, if you get pulled over, get in accident, drive through a checkpoint, or otherwise come into contact with law enforcement while or immediately after driving, you could be arrested for driving under the influence. This could be as a result of the officers observing certain symptoms suggestive of prescription drug use, as well as your admission of taking it. It is probably best if you do not admit to taking it, and also best if you do not drive with any of the pills in your possession. You might want to talk to your doctor about how long it would be safe to wait until driving after taking it. Tread carefully, and best of luck.

Jasen Nielsen


That completely depends on how it affects you. Even though it does say and your Dr didnt tell you not to drive, VC 23152(a) makes it unlawful to drive while IMPAIRED do to drugs or alcohol. If you feel impaired, even in small amounts, then don't drive. Best to see how it affects you before getting behind the wheel.

There is no "minimum" when it comes to drugs. It all comes down to impairment that can be shown.

Any information provided through in response to a question is not, and cannot be considered a formation of any Attorney-Client relationship. Questioner understands that the nature of this system allows only for a cursory review of case information, and more detailed information should not be divulged in this public forum. As such, Questioner is recommended to contact an Attorney in order to discuss the full details of their case and a more specific advisement of potential rights and liabilities.


Xanax as you probably know is a Benzodiazepine that can be used for general anesthesia,
sedation prior to surgery or diagnostic procedures and muscle relaxation. Given this, you must know that while the drug is active in your system it would not be a good idea to drive, particularly if you've taken it in combination with other medications or alcohol. There is no defined limit like there is with alcohol and 0.08, but if you get stopped and the cops think you're under the influence then one of these lawyers on this site is going to get a new client.


The law says you are driving under the influence if: r mental or physical abilities are so impaired that you are no longer able to drive a vehicle with the caution of a sober person, using ordinary care, under similar circumstances.

Unfortunately, this doesn't offer a bright line rule with prescription medication cases. Look at the warning label for starters. If it suggests symptoms that would be related to impairment, you'll need to exercise additional caution.

Perhaps a talk with the pharmacy or the prescribing physician is in order.


Vehicle code section 23152(a) prohibits driving under the influence of drugs--even those prescribed to you by a physician. So, yes, you could get into trouble for driving with Xanax in your system.

I would suggest that you discuss this issue with your doctor. Tell him/her your concerns. Your doctor probably knows better about how this affect your body--otherwise, you wouldn't have had a prescription in the first place. See what your doctor thinks about your ability to drive while taking this drug in the doses prescribed. That may give you more insight into whether or not you think it is safe to do so.

If you want to be 100% sure, then do not drive.

Reliance on any information in this website is at the sole risk of the user and the user understands that he or she should consult with an attorney before taking a course of action based upon information contained in this website. The information on this website does not constitute an attorney-client relationship.


VC 23152(a) makes it unlawful in the State of California to operate a motor vehicle if you are under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. Contrast this with VC 23152(b), which states it is unlawful for anyone to drive a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or more.

So if you are driving after taking Xanax and are pulled over, if the officer suspects you are "under the influence" of this drug, or any other drug for that matter, then it's not legal and you can be arrested.

So-called "drugged driving" cases are tougher for the prosecution to prove because they have to rely on the officer's subjective observations of you when you are pulled over, rather than by a certain measure of alcohol obtained through a breathalyzer or blood draw.

The answer above is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal advice or form an attorney-client relationship. The above response should not be relied upon for any specific situation. If you need legal advice specific to your needs, you should consult with a licensed attorney.


.. The short answer is yes it is legal to drive with prescription drugs in
your system so long as you can drive is it reasonably prudent sober person
in the same or similar circumstances and it has not affected your driving 2
the point where your impaired. I would check with your doctor first and be


It is illegal to drive under the influence of ANY medication if it interferes with the safe operation of your motor vehicle. Simple.

Contributions to do not establish an attorney-client relationship.


Driving under the influence of this outside agent would be illegal. If your driving is not affected, you can legally drive.


The DUI law has 2 different sections. VC 23152(b) requires that you have .08 or greater amount of alcohol in your system and does not apply to any other substance. VC23152(a) however addresses both drugs and alcohol and states that you cannot drive legally if you are impaired by the use of either regardless of the amount in your system. There has been no quantitative analyses on Xanax and it could be easily challenged by you that the amount in your system did not impair your ability to drive. You should contact a qualified attorney to discuss the matter in more detail.

Avvo DUI email series

Sign up to receive a 3-part series of useful information and legal advice about DUIs.

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer