When we think of DUI/DWI charges, most people probably think about driving while under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs. And while these conditions might cause the majority of DUI/DWI cases, it is possible to be charged with a DUI/DWI even while you are taking legal medications prescribed by a doctor!
According to FindLaw, you can be arrested for driving under the influence (also known as “driving while intoxicated”) while taking legal drugs including prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications. You can face the same consequences for taking legal medications as you can for an alcohol-related offense. Legal grounds for a DUI/DWI really depend on whether your ability to drive is impaired or not.
FindLaw defines the conditions for being charged with a DUI/DWI as when a person has driven a vehicle on a public roadway (or was in actual physical control of the vehicle as defined by state laws); and at the time of driving, was under the influence of alcohol or any legal or controlled substances. “Under the influence” means the driver’s ability to safely operate the vehicle was affected to an appreciable degree by an alcoholic beverage, a drug, or a combination of the two.
So by the very definition of a DUI/DWI, the influence of legal drugs can impair your driving.
Which Medications Cause Driver Impairment?
Many prescription and over-the-counter medications will have an effect on your coordination, motor skills, and more – even when you take the prescribed dosage. Some common side effects of prescription drugs that can impact your ability to drive include:
- Blurred vision
- Slowed movement
- Inability to focus or pay attention
Because medications affect different people differently, and different dosages might have different effects, it’s difficult to define a list of medications that can cause driver impairment. However, the National Institute on Drug Abuse gives a specific warning regarding medications such as benzodiazepines and opioids, which can cause drowsiness, dizziness, and impair cognitive functioning (thinking and judgment). All of these effects can lead to vehicle crashes.
When taking medications, always check the labels for possible side effects and ask your doctor if it’s safe to drive while taking the medication. In addition, before getting behind the wheel, monitor your reactions to the medications while you’re in a safe environment to see what side effects you experience. Keep in mind that even if you don’t experience all the possible side effects of a medication, if there’s a warning about driving impairment, avoid getting behind the wheel for your sake and the safety of others on the road!
What To Do If You’re Charged with a DUI/DWI
If you’re charged with a DUI/DWI in Westchester County, NY or White Plains, NY, there is reliable legal help available to you! Darren DeUrso is your dedicated, compassionate DUI/DWI attorney in the state of New York. Darren DeUrso has 30 years of experience and he’s here to represent your case fairly and comprehensively. Call Darren DeUrso at 914.772.8614 or send a message online to set up your free initial consultation.
Darren DeUrso, Attorney at Law
188 East Post Road, Suite 300
White Plains, NY 10601