Can you get a DUI because of over-the-counter medications?

On Behalf of | Mar 21, 2022 | Criminal defense

If you are taking over-the-counter medications for a cold or for another illness, it’s important that you understand how those medications could impact you. Even though those drugs are available freely, there is a possibility that you could have side effects that may lead to a DUI if you choose to drive while taking them.

Nonprescription medications that often cause dizziness, drowsiness, confusion or other symptoms may include:

  • Cough medications, like pseudoephedrine
  • Allergy medications, like diphenhydramine
  • Pain killers, like Tylenol PM, which may be designed for nighttime use to help you sleep

While these medications are totally legal, you may be too impaired by them to drive safely.

A DUI doesn’t have to be caused by alcohol

A DUI doesn’t need to be linked to alcohol for a charge to stick. In reality, you can be charged with a DUI no matter what kind of impairing substance you’ve used. If that substance happens to be an over-the-counter medication, you can still face charges.

What should you do if you’re facing charges for impairment due to medicine?

It can be upsetting to face charges when you were only trying to take care of yourself. It is possible to defend yourself against charges like this.

For example, if you did not know that you could become dizzy or disoriented because of the medication and those side effects weren’t listed in the medication’s instruction and information pamphlet, then you may be in a good position to argue that you couldn’t have known it was unsafe to drive.

Similarly, if you have taken this drug before without side effects but had severe side effects this time, you may argue that you didn’t have the knowledge of the side effects that were possible.

It’s a good idea to look into your legal options, so you can protect yourself against the charges. With the right information and a strong defense, you may be in a better position to avoid serious penalties for a DUI. It is your right to fight back against any charges you face, but you need to act quickly to protect your own interests.