Most people do not set out for the night with an intent to drive while intoxicated. This is especially true for people who are on a new medication and did not realize the type of side effects that could happen. Many prescription drugs have serious side effects, many of which can greatly affect your ability to drive. As a result, a person can be charged with driving under the influence (DUI) of prescription drugs, even when they never thought their actions could be an issue.
If you or someone you care for has been charged with DUI because of an unexpected side effect of a prescription drug, an experienced Georgia DUI attorney can present your case and defend your rights. You do not have to face this process alone.
Prescription Drug DUI
A great many medicines come with side effects you may or may not be aware of once you begin to take them. For others, they know there is a small risk but never guess that it could have such a significant effect on their ability to drive. As a result of being under the influence of an unexpected reaction, drivers may
- commit traffic violations,
- fall asleep in their car (even without driving),
- get into serious accidents, or
- hurt another driver or pedestrian.
What Types of Medications Can Cause Unexpected Reactions?
There are a wide variety of prescription and over-the-counter medications that can cause impairment to your ability to drive, but a few of the most common are listed here.
- Cough Syrup: Many cough syrups have codeine, which causes people to feel very drowsy, sleepy, or dizzy.
- Nighttime Cold or Flu Medicine: Many of these drugs have chemicals meant to help you sleep, and can be stronger than expected.
- Anxiety Medications: Drugs like Prozac, Celexa, Zoloft, Lexapro, or Buspirone can cause a driver to feel drowsy or unable to concentrate, especially soon after taking it.
- Prescription Painkillers: Drugs such as Vicodin, Percocet, and others have strong pain-relieving effects but also cause intoxication.
- Muscle Relaxers: Many drivers do not realize that the pill to help with back or other muscle pain can cause serious drowsiness.
Understanding the risks involved with your medications can help prevent a Georgia DUI.
Is it still illegal?
You can still be charged with a DUI for driving under the influence of medication, even when you did not realize the side effects that would occur. However, in honest cases, and especially with first-time DUI drivers, your Georgia DUI defense attorney can negotiate with the prosecutor to show that this was a truly accidental case.
These negotiations can possibly reduce or even dismiss the charges against you. Never assume you are guilty just because you were arrested and charged with a crime.
Consult a Georgia DUI Attorney
If you or someone you care for has been arrested for a Georgia DUI, there are defenses which can be raised to defend your case and protect your constitutional rights. Side effects from prescription drugs can majorly impact your life through a DUI charge.