A Quick Look At Common Prescription Medications That Could Get You A DUI Charge

Posted on: 2 November 2016

When you have a sickness, illness, or disease, there is a high likelihood that your doctor will prescribe some sort of medication to help you with your problems. If you are like most people, you will swing by the pharmacy and pick up your medication and may never give any thought at all to whether you should take the pills while you are driving. Unfortunately, some common medications can inhibit your driving abilities because of their side effects. Driving under the influence of some of these medications could easily land you with an unforeseen DUI charge. Here is a closer look at some of the most common medication types that could get you in trouble with the law while driving. 

Sleep Medications - Even though you can purchase some sleep medications over the counter, those that you obtain in prescription form can sometimes have even more severe side effects. Some of the side effects associated with prescription sleep medications include: 

  • drowsiness
  • changes in vision
  • slowed reaction times
  • falling asleep without warning
  • lingering fatigue 

If you're prescribed sleep medication, it is best to not drive for the first day or so after you start the prescription. Give yourself ample time to get familiar with how long the medication affects you and how long it takes for the medication to fully wear off. 

Opiates - Most opiates are considered a Schedule II narcotic, which means they are legal and prescribed for medical use, but have a high likelihood of abuse and dependence development. However, opiates are also well-known for other side effects that can interfere with your driving abilities. For example, an opiate dosage could make you feel groggy and drowsy without a lot of warning, have negative impacts on your vision and perception, and can even alter your reaction times on the road. If you are prescribed opiates in any form, it is best to strongly adhere to guidelines given to you by the pharmacy and steer clear of driving until you are positive how the medication is going to affect you. 

Anti-Anxiety Medications - Anti-anxiety medications are designed to affect the nervous system, which is essentially why they can make you feel more relaxed and at ease. Even though these medications can be a great help when you suffer from anxiety, they can also negatively impact your driving skills. Anti-anxiety medications may make it harder for you to focus on your surroundings and could leave you feeling especially groggy and tired. Extreme caution should be used if you are prescribed this medication to ensure you know whether your driving could be impaired or not. 

The bottom line is, a DUI may be easier to get charged with than you think, even when there is no alcohol involved. If you have been charged with a DUI because of prescription medication, contact a DUI attorney for advice.