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Prescription medications can also lead to DUIs

When cold season arrives, many people begin to catch illnesses. As a result, they head to the doctor and obtain medications. Those medications are perfectly legal, but that doesn't mean they're safe to drive on.

When you get a medication from a pharmacy or off a retail shelf, it will have a list of warnings. It may let you know that it can cause drowsiness or that it could potentially interact with other medications. In some cases, there won't be any significant warnings, but, depending on what other medications you take, it could have the potential to make you hyper, distracted or exhausted.

Did you know that you can get a DUI due to prescription or nonprescription medications?

While most people think about DUIs as charges that are only placed against people for driving while drunk on alcohol or intoxicated by illicit drugs, the reality is that anything that you eat or drink that affects your driving abilities could lead to a DUI. Here are a few examples.

  • Katie was struggling with a cold, so she purchased some cold medication over the counter. She brought daytime cold medicine, but since it didn't have an antihistamine, she also bought the latter. She didn't realize that the antihistamine she bought, diphenhydramine, was also known as Benadryl, an often sleep-inducing drug. The next thing she knew, she was waking up at the scene of an accident facing a DUI.
  • John also struggled with a cold, and to top it off, he was having a bad allergic reaction to antibiotics he received. The hospital gave him prednisone to help him cope with the reaction. The drug, taken for several days, has the potential to cause hyperactivity, drowsiness and mood swings. His aggression became serious, and he ended up being pulled over for road rage. The officer charged him with a DUI for driving while impaired by the mood-changing medication.

These are two examples of how different medications could affect your ability to drive safely. It's possible to defend against DUI allegations and to protect yourself, but keep in mind that any drug that changes your behavior could lead to DUI charges that a judge may choose to uphold.

It's within your rights to seek a defense, including the defense that you had previously taken these medications with no ill effects. Certain defenses can help you protect your reputation and get you through this difficult situation.

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