Will taking a prescription medication lead to a DUI charge?

On Behalf of | Feb 11, 2022 | Criminal Defense |

Most people know that alcohol can lead to DUI charges, but what they don’t know is that prescription and over-the-counter medications could, too. An officer might accuse someone of a DUI if they are impaired regardless of the substance that they’ve ingested. For example, if you took cold medicine before going out for a drive and then hit someone because you were dizzy or disoriented, then there is a chance that the officer could arrest you for being impaired.

There are ways that you can help yourself avoid DUIs related to prescription drug use. For instance, you may want to try new medications on a day when you don’t have to work or leave your home. Then, usually within a few hours, you’ll have an idea of the kinds of side effects you’ll have from the medication.

If you aren’t able to stay home on a specific day, another option may be to take the medication after you have reached your destination. For instance, if you’re heading to work, you could take your cold medicine after you’re in the office for the day. That way, there’s plenty of time to see how it affects you and time to ask someone else to take you home if you need that support.

When you don’t know how a medication will affect you, you need to avoid driving

While it might seem like normal prescriptions like prescription allergy, cold or pain medications won’t cause side effects severe enough to make you unable to drive, the reality is that they could. The last thing you want to do is to get behind the wheel when side effects hit that change the way you react to stimuli or make it hard for you to focus.

Should you tell the police you’re taking medications?

If you do get stopped by the police after taking a prescription medication that has caused some amount of impairment, you don’t have to admit to anything unless you want to seek medical attention. For example, if you believe you’re having a serious or life-threatening reaction to a medication, let them know. In other cases, consider getting to know your legal rights first before you speak with the police, so you can protect yourself and avoid an unnecessary DUI conviction.