Can a prescription drug get you a DUI?

You are aware of the consequences that may arise from drinking and driving, which can include motor vehicle accidents and DUI charges. You might not know, however, that you could face similar consequences for driving after taking a legal prescription or over-the-counter medication. You and other California residents should understand the potential ramifications and how to avoid them.

As the National Institute on Drug Abuse explains, many medications that you might consider harmless can dangerously affect your driving. Cold medicine, antihistamines, narcotic painkillers, anti-anxiety medication and sleeping aids are just a few of many different prescription and non-prescription drugs that can cause the following impairments, some of which may be sudden and unexpected:

  • Sleepiness and yawning
  • Dizziness, confusion and brain fog
  • Nervousness, jitteriness and difficulty concentrating
  • Blurry vision, seizures and fainting
  • Uncontrollable coughing, nausea or vomiting

If your medication has a warning label cautioning you not to drive after taking it, or if you experience side effects that you feel would be dangerous behind the wheel, you might want to speak with your doctor about being prescribed a different drug or discuss the best times to take it that would have the least chance of coinciding with your driving.

It is illegal to drive after taking certain medications that are known to impair driving. If an officer detects an impairing drug in your system after you are pulled over, you might be charged with driving under the influence. It is usually advisable to speak with an experienced DUI and Criminal defense attorney when you are facing such charges.

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