Can a Cold Get You a DUI?


It’s that time of year. The weather is changing — and changing rapidly. One day you are bundling up in layers and a down coat, and the next day you are wearing short sleeves and turning the furnace down. Thanks to the odd weather patterns, your body is stressed, and you wind up with a head cold. You have places to go and people to see. You certainly would rather stay in bed than get behind the wheel, but you have no choice.

Not so fast.

Most people don’t know that it is possible to be charged with driving under the influence without a drop of alcohol in your system. If you have a head cold and are taking prescription medication, you can be charged with DUI if you are found to be driving recklessly. It’s a misconception held by many that driving under the influence deals strictly with alcohol. A person can be charged with DUI after putting any type of mind or mood-altering substance into their body.

If you have a cold and take medication to alleviate your symptoms before getting behind the wheel, you could be making a grave mistake. Let’s say that you take an over-the-counter cold medicine when you get out of bed in the morning. You are hoping that your symptoms will disappear long enough for you to be able to get through the day. You shower, get dressed and get behind the wheel despite that foggy feeling you’ve gotten from the medicine.

Just like driving under the influence of alcohol, driving under the influence of cold medication can dull your reaction times. Medication can lead you to make decisions you wouldn’t have made otherwise, or neglect to react in ways that you normally would. In short, driving under the influence of cold medication can be dangerous to you, your passengers and the people you share the road with. If you are pulled over and a police officer suspects that you are driving under the influence of any substance, you can indeed be charged and  arrested.

If you have a head cold or even the flu and are taking medication, you may want to consider staying home. If you can’t stay home, get a friend, co-worker, neighbor or relative to drive you where you need to go. Fighting illness can be tough, but fighting a DUI for the next several months and dealing with its consequences can be even harder. A conviction can affect your employment, your financial status and your relationship with friends and family.

If you have been arrested for driving under the influence in Pennsylvania, you need an experienced attorney fighting by your side in order to achieve the best outcome possible. Call our office today and schedule an appointment for a free case evaluation with an experienced Pennsylvania DUI lawyer. Together we will determine your best course of action and how to move forward. Do not fight your charges on your own. The consequences of a DUI conviction can be serious and lifelong.