DUI and Prescription Meds: Not What the Doctor Ordered

Well, simply put, you can get charged and even convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) without having a drop of alcohol in your system. And even worse, you may not even realize that the prescription medication is causing the same type of side effects that police commonly confuse with being under the influence of alcohol. And if you take your medication and have a glass of wine with dinner, you may be in for a rude awakening.

Almost everyone reading this has taken prescription medication. All medication directs the manner it should be taken, however often times people do not realize the true side effects of the medication. Also, some medications cause different side effects when mixed with other medications. Things like glassy eyes, slurred speech, unsteadiness on feet, and other side effects are common buzz words for police when they think someone is under the influence. People taking pain killers like lortab driving around “under the unfluence” completely unaware of risks. Although these are narcotics and most doctors advise you to stay off the road when taking them, other medications for things like blood pressure and anxiety are not so obvious. And when confronted by a police officer whose job is to seek out people driving under the influence, one can quickly find themselves in the cross hairs of a DUI taskforce cop following a pen and walking a line.

Folks, I have represented several people charged with DUI who did not take a sip of alcohol. Don’t let it happen to you.

Here is my advice:

– Know the side effects of your medication. If it says to stay away from operating a vehicle or causes drowsiness, stay off the road, especially at night.

– Do not mix medications. It may be difficult to determine what the side effects are when mixing medications. If you do not know what will happen, experiment at home, not on the road.

– Do not mix any alcohol with your medication. Even one beer mixed with medication can cause some undesired results.

– If confronted by the police officer, do not make any admissions about any medication you are taking.

– Avoid taking any field sobriety tests if asked to do so by the police officer. Although you may feel up to the task, you will do something wrong, I promise.

– Demand a blood test if the only thing in your system if your medication. Breath tests can be unreliable and could result in an inaccurate reading that would only complicate things. And if you refuse to take a test, you could face losing your license for 1 year.

Remember, know you rights and avoid a DUI.


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