You’d never get behind the wheel after drinking, and you’ve never taken illicit drugs in your life – but you can still end up charged with a DWI (driving while intoxicated) due to drugged driving through simple mistakes.
How could this happen? Let’s explore some possibilities:
You are on OTC meds that cause drowsiness
There are all kinds of medications that cause drowsiness, and most people are conscious of the fact that controlled substances (like painkillers, benzos and muscle relaxers) can make them woozy or disoriented.
By the same token, however, the vast majority of people don’t think much about the possibility that their over-the-counter medications can do the same. Allergy and cold medications, in particular, can be particularly likely to cause drowsiness and leave you too impaired to drive. So can medication that’s designed to control nausea and diarrhea.
You have started a higher dosage of a medication
Even though painkillers and other controlled substances have the potential to leave someone impaired, a lot of patients gradually adjust to their side effects over time.
Unfortunately, as patients develop a tolerance to the side effects, they can also develop a tolerance to the drug that makes their dosage ineffective. If your doctor has recently increased the dosage of a drug you’ve been taking for a long time, you may not realize that the drug’s intoxicating effects will return.
You are on a new combo of medications
Sometimes, the combo of medications someone is one can have an unintended effect as the different drugs interact.
Two drugs that you have tolerated well on their own can make you suddenly disoriented, weak or drowsy – and that can make it impossible to drive safely.
Most people drastically underestimate the possibility that these things will cause them a problem. They may not realize what’s happened until they’re in handcuffs. If that happens to you, make sure that you exercise your right to remain silent until you have fully explored your defense options.