When you think about people who drink and drive, you probably imagine someone who has had a few beers or shots before getting behind the wheel. You may not consider people who have taken sleeping pills the night before or who are tired from having to take an antihistamine.
Not surprisingly, certain prescription drugs can lead to side effects that make it unsafe to drive. Someone who takes a sleeping pill may not be awake enough to drive safely the morning after a dose, just as someone who takes pain medication may be feeling “loopy” and won’t be aware enough to drive safely.
Driving on a prescription is potentially dangerous
If you’re taking prescription drugs, don’t drive until you know how you respond to them. For example, if you’ll be taking a new painkiller for a few days following a surgery, it may be best to use a ride-sharing service or to ask your family to take you to and from your appointments. Why? These drugs could potentially make you tired or drowsy. Some people get a sense of euphoria, and others feel nauseated.
Other drugs could make you feel jumpy or jittery, sick to your stomach or too exhausted to continue safely. It’s always necessary to take time to see how the drug affects you before you work with machinery, drive or perform other potentially dangerous actions.
Can you receive a DUI for driving on prescription medications?
Yes, but the good news is that there are some potential defenses to a DUI for prescription medication use. For instance, if you did not know about the effects of the drug because it was an unlisted side effect, then that may be a good defense.
Another good defense would be to show that you’d never had this type of side effect before. In that case, your attorney may be able to more effectively argue that you couldn’t have expected to become drowsy or disoriented, so you didn’t know not to drive your vehicle.
Your attorney will talk to you about the drugs you’re currently taking and what happened leading up to the DUI arrest. The right support may be able to help you minimize the risk of being convicted of driving while under the influence.