When you think about driving while intoxicated, or DWI, you probably imagine someone who has had a few too many alcoholic beverage before driving. That’s a common cause of DWIs, but drinking alcohol isn’t the only reason that DWIs can happen.
DWIs are also common after drug use. Drugs of all kinds can have side effects that make it difficult for a person to concentrate or stay awake. For example, that pink Benadryl tablet that helps keep your allergies at bay could also make you extremely drowsy and impair your ability to drive safely.
Can you get a DWI for taking normal over-the-counter medications?
Yes, you can. If you are impaired while driving for any reason, then an officer can arrest you for driving while impaired. If you can’t drive safely while taking an over-the-counter medication, then the reality is that you have broken a law by doing so.
What should you do if you’re stopped but didn’t know about the side effects of the medication?
In some cases, you may not know that you’re going to react to a medication in a certain way. For example, if you normally take a pill form of your allergy medication and switch to a liquid form, the way that medication is absorbed is different and may lead to altered side effects. What didn’t make you tired before may now significantly impact your ability to drive safely.
If you didn’t know about the side effects and had taken the medication in the past, it may be a strong defense. However, if this was the first time you took a medication and you knew that side effects were possible, the authorities may still be harsh on you. Though you need to take medications to make yourself feel better, you cannot drive while you’re on them if you can’t follow the rules of the road.
Your attorney will work closely with you to defend you based on the kind of medication you were taking and the risk of side effects like those you experienced. Every case is different, so you should fight the charges based on your specific situation.