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DUI Charges for Prescription Drug Use

The Unspoken Side Effect of Prescription Medications

There are side effects for pretty much every medication. You may have seen medicine commercials describing a seemingly endless list of side effects, but have you heard that a DUI charge can be one of them?

Many people don’t realize that prescription and over-the-counter medicines are also drugs that could impair bodily functions, resulting in the risk of getting a DUI. That’s right, even if your doctor tells you to take your medicine at certain hours of the day, you must avoid getting behind the wheel or you may get pulled over and arrested for DUI.

West Virginia’s DUI laws define “impairment” as a person who:

  • Is under the influence of alcohol
  • Is under the influence of any controlled substance
  • Is under the influence of any other drug or inhalant substance
  • Is under the combined influence of alcohol and any controlled substance or any other drug
  • Has an alcohol concentration in his or her blood of eight hundredths of one percent or more, by weight

Prescription & Over-the-Counter Medicine Side Effects

It’s common to think that driving under the influence of alcohol, inhalants and controlled substances is more dangerous than driving with prescription medicine in your system. However, prescription drugs and over-the-counter medicines could cause some damage by leading to a DUI arrest.

Medicines such as cough syrup could impair your ability to safely operate your vehicle because side effects include impaired motor function, audio and visual hallucinations, nausea or vomiting, elevated body temperature, etc. Individually and combined, these side effects are the perfect recipe for a DUI accusation. Even allergy medications containing antihistamines have side effects including drowsiness, blurred vision, dizziness, confusion, and nausea and vomiting.

To best prevent an unintended DUI charge, ask your doctor about the side effects of your prescription medication and if it’s safe to operate a vehicle after using it. For over-the-counter medicine, we advise you to read the labels on the box to learn about the side effects and warnings related to using it. If you’re still uncertain about whether you can safely drive after using your medication or not, it’s best to avoid driving at all costs.

Our lawyer believes you shouldn’t have to suffer legal consequences for taking medicine and driving. Luckily, Attorney Harley Wagner is a DUI specialist who completed over 800 hours of DUI training, meaning he has the skill and competence needed to defend your case. Call (304) 461-6000 for a free case review and learn about your legal options!

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