When you think of a driving under the influence charge, chances are that alcohol is foremost in your mind. The truth is that people can be charged for driving under the influence when they have any substance in their system that impairs their ability to drive — including over-the-counter and prescription medications.
When an officer charges someone with DUI, they only need to prove that you were in control of a vehicle and that your ability to drive was impaired by some substance. For example:
You have been fighting a terrible cough for weeks and finally decide to take over-the-counter cold medicine. The medicine includes a warning on the label that consumers should not drive after taking it because it can cause drowsiness. You take the medicine before work because you don’t want to spend the day coughing, and you get in your car to head to work.
While driving, you begin to feel drowsy and weave in and out of your lane in front of a police officer. The officer suspects that you are impaired and charges you with DUI. The charges could very well stick and affect your life in a negative way..
Any person who takes over-the-counter medication should be sure to read the label before they take the medication and drive. Likewise, any person taking prescription medication should talk to their doctor or pharmacist to find out if the medication may cause drowsiness or dull the senses in some way. If a medication is known to cause drowsiness, a person is better off finding alternate transportation than driving themselves. Being charged with driving under the influence is a very real risk for people taking certain medications.
Over-the-counter cold, flu and allergy medications are known for having an effect on people. These medications are often made with ingredients that help people relax and sleep easier. Prescription medications for anxiety and depression also tend to cause drowsiness. Prescription pain medications should typically be avoided if a person plans on driving. Again, any questions about a specific medication should be directed toward a medical professional.
A conviction for driving under the influence can have lasting implications. A person may find it difficult to secure employment, enter school and more. These issues are in addition to any fines or punishments handed down by a court of law. Any person who is charged with DUI should consult an experienced attorney to help mitigate the consequences of their charge.
If you have been charged with driving under the influence in Philadelphia, contact the experienced team at the Law Offices of Steven E. Kellis. We will review the details of your arrest and charges at no cost to you and advise you of your legal options. You cannot afford to go it alone — the consequences of a driving under the influence conviction could seriously impact your personal life, your finances and your future.