Charged with DUI? Your Medication Might Be to Blame

man drinking alcohol while driving

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If you have been pulled over on suspicion of being drunk behind the wheel, that new prescription may be to blame. Some medications are obvious hazards when it comes to operating a car, and there are big, bold warnings right on them. With other prescriptions – and even some over-the-counter (OTC) medications – this connection is not always as obvious, but it can be very real.

The FDA Weighs In

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) shares that, while it is generally safe to take the medications you need and to also drive, this is not always the case, and it is better to be safe than sorry. Drugs affect people in very different ways, and some of the most common effects that can interfere with a motorist’s ability to drive safely include:

  • Excessive sleepiness or drowsiness (Drowsy Driving Poses a Serious Threat)

  • Inability to pay adequate attention (or to focus)

  • Blurry vision

  • Dizziness

  • Unnaturally slow movements

  • Fainting spells

  • Nausea

  • Jitteriness

Such effects can be short-lived or longer in duration, and it is a good idea to have a feel for how a medication affects you before getting behind the wheel. The truth is, however, that drugs can interact with one another unexpectedly – or you may react differently to a medication than you ever have before. In other words, the effects of a medication can take you by surprise, and this fact may play a primary role in your defense.

Related: Staying Safe on Texas Roads: Tips from an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney

Drugs that Are Commonly Linked to DUIs

There are certain kinds of drugs that are commonly associated with causing issues that are dangerous behind the wheel, and some of them may surprise you. Consider the following:

  • Medications that are intended to keep you awake, such as those that contain stimulants, including caffeine, ephedrine, pseudoephedrine

  • Medications that are intended to treat or control diarrhea

  • Medications that are intended to treat motion sickness

  • Some cold and allergy medications (both prescription and OTC medications), including those that contain antihistamines

  • antipsychotic drugs and some antidepressants

  • Prescription medications that are intended to treat anxiety, including benzodiazepines

  • Medications that are intended to treat seizures

  • Muscle relaxants

  • Sleeping medications

  • Opioid pain relievers

  • Medications containing codeine

If you need to take one of these medications on a regular basis, it is important to establish how you react to it prior to getting behind the wheel. It is also an excellent idea to discuss the matter with your doctor and pharmacist to help you make the best – and safest – choices for you. 

Read about Pharmacists and Drug Diversion Charges in the State of Texas

Do Not Delay Consulting with an Experienced Criminal Lawyer Today

If you are facing a DUI that is based on or exacerbated by a medication you were on, you have legal rights, and it is important to protect them. Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Killeen, Texas, is an impressive criminal lawyer who puts the rights of his clients first. We are here for you, too, so please do not wait to contact or call us at 254-501-4040 today.


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