Can You be Charged With DUI For Driving After Taking Cold Medicine?

List: Posted: 12/19/11

Driving under the influence (DUI) is a very serious charge that carries some heavy penalties.  Most people take great care when consuming alcohol to make sure that they either have a designated driver, or that they remain below the legal limit.  But can you be charged with drunk driving while driving after taking a dose of cold medicine?

 

Actually, the answer here is "yes."  You must understand that DUI does not necessarily mean drunk driving.  It means driving under the influence of anything that might impair your judgment.  Many cold medications contain alcohol as one of the active ingredients – ingesting this before getting behind the wheel can certainly lead to charges of drunk driving, even if you don't feel drunk or 'buzzed.'

 

The thing that you must understand about drunk driving and DUI is that you are legally responsible for anything that happens when you are behind the wheel.  Falling asleep behind the wheel can cause an accident for which you are responsible – taking cold medicine that causes drowsiness or erratic driving can most definitely land you in jail with a charge of drunk driving.

 

You should also be aware that other legal drugs prescribed for you by your doctor can also result in a drunk driving charge.  Just because you are taking legal medication does not mean that you are legally able to get behind the wheel.  After all, alcohol is legal, but driving after drinking a certain amount is not.  The same applies to cold medicine.

 

Before driving while on cold medication, you might consider the possible problems caused by the ingredients in the medicine – drowsiness, blurred vision, dizziness etc.  A charge of drunk driving is not as easily remedied as the common cold, so find a designated driver if you truly must take cold medicine before traveling, or plan your dosage so that it has time to wear off - at least 8 hours is recommended, so take your medicine last thing at night, never before you drive to work in the morning.

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