Alcohol in your bloodstream isn’t the only thing that could result in you getting charged with a DUI. You can also be arrested for driving under the influence even if you’ve taken legally prescribed drugs and over-the-counter medications.
Even if you’ve purchased those medications legally after they were prescribed to you by a doctor and you stayed within the dosage the doctor recommended, you can still be arrested for a DUI on prescription drugs if the drug impairs your driving. Therefore, it’s crucial you be fully aware of the potential effects a drug has on you before you begin using it and before you go out on the road while taking it.
About DUI charges for legal drugs
The term “under the influence” for the purposes of a DUI means your ability to safely operate the vehicle has been compromised to a certain degree by a substance, whether that be alcohol, a drug or a combination of both. This could be either legal or illegal drugs.
You’ll find that even many legal drugs could have an effect on your coordination, which makes them dangerous to use if you intend to drive. Some of the most common side effects you’ll find on prescription and over-the-counter drugs that could impact your driving ability include nausea, blurred vision, dizziness, drowsiness, lethargy, lack of focus and slowed reaction times.
You should also consider the fact that drugs affect different people in different ways. Beyond just the side effects listed on the medication, you should consider how you know a drug to affect you. If you’re going on a brand-new prescription drug, it might be a good idea for you to wait to drive until you’ve had some time to assess how the drug affects you. But there are some types of drugs, like antihistamines, that the Food and Drug Administration strongly advises against driving after taking them. These simple over-the-counter drugs are taken by millions of Americans each day, but they could easily affect your driving capabilities.
There are other types of substances that might contain small amounts of alcohol or fermentation that could affect your driving. Kombucha tea contains a very small amount of alcohol that could register on the BAC test. Ginseng is another substance that is often taken with alcohol-based tinctures, and kava is a type of sedative that could, in larger doses, result in impairment to your driving.
In summary, you can be arrested and charged with driving under the influence even if you haven’t overindulged in alcohol or consumed illegal substances. This is why it’s so important that you discuss all side effects with your doctor and whether or not you should be driving while you’re taking those medications. If you’re purchasing over-the-counter drugs, be sure to read the labels to get a sense of the side effects you might experience while taking them so you can make your best judgment regarding whether or not you should be behind the wheel after taking them.
If you are facing DUI charges even though you were using a legal substance, we encourage you to contact an experienced DUI defense attorney in Cincinnati, OH at Herzner Law, LLC to discuss the best strategies you can use in your case.
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