The Iowa Supreme Court has decided that the Iowa Department of Transportation cannot suspend the licenses of drivers whose driving problems are due to taking prescription drugs in compliance with a doctor’s instructions. The Court filed its unanimous opinion Friday March 14 in the case of Teresa Bearinger, overturning the IDOT’s decision to suspend her license after she drove off the road and hit a maibox while having trouble with her prescription medication. Previously the prescription drug defense was available only to those charged with criminal charges of operation while intoxicated.
A person who wants to use the prescription drug defense in a civil matter must establish the following:
A person wanting to use the prescription drug defense must establish the following:
1. The drug in question, detected in blood or urine, was prescribed to him;
2. The person took the prescription as prescribed;
3. There is no evidence of alcohol consumption along with the medication; and
4. The prescriber had not directed the person to refrain from operating a motor vehicle.