Law Offices of Michael T. Nolan, Jr.

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Can a legal medication result in a DUI?

You may have never driven a day in your life with alcohol in your system, but this does not mean you are immune to being charged with a DUI, especially if you take certain medications. It is important that you and other New Jersey residents understand that some prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs can dangerously affect your driving and may result in DUI charges if you are pulled over.

“Do not operate a motor vehicle after taking this medication.” That warning is on your bottle of prescription painkillers for a reason. Narcotic pain medication commonly causes dizziness, drowsiness and confusion – a possibly deadly combination when you get behind the wheel. Other common medicines, including cold medicine, antihistamines, antidepressants and sleeping pills, can cause similar side effects, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Some medications can cause even more dangerous reactions while driving, including blurry vision, difficulty focusing, jitteriness, seizures or fainting.

Some prescription drugs that treat serious conditions like heart disease or diabetes could have unexpected effects, and you should refrain from driving until you know how these medications affect you. Other drugs may be fine on their own but could cause unreliable results if you combine them with another medication or supplement. If you find out that you will be taking a medication that impacts your driving, you may consider speaking with your doctor or pharmacist about a different prescription or dosage times that will prevent the drug from being in your system when you usually drive.

Understanding the ways in which legal medication can impact you if you are pulled over may prevent you from being charged with a crime or getting in an accident.

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Law Offices of Michael T. Nolan, Jr.
514 Brick Boulevard, Suite 6
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