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Can you get a DUI with a prescription drug?

When people think about DUIs, it is usually alcohol that comes to mind. However, you were pulled over when you were taking a prescription medication that made you feel a little groggy, and the officer accused you of driving under the influence. How can it be possible for you or other South Carolina residents to get a DUI while taking a completely legal medication, and with nothing to drink in your system?

Many prescription medications can impair driving, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. You might not realize that a medication a doctor prescribed you could get you into trouble behind the wheel. Furthermore, you may have a medical condition, such as chronic anxiety or heart disease, that makes it necessary to take a prescription drug for a long period of time.

What are some of the ways a prescription might hamper your driving? Some medications cause the following side effects:

  • Drowsiness or excessive yawning
  • Dizziness or confusion
  • Blurred vision
  • Delayed reaction time
  • Jitteriness or inability to focus
  • Seizures or fainting

Prescription painkillers, antidepressants, anti-anxiety medication and drugs for serious conditions, such as hypertension, diabetes and heart disease, are commonly associated with dangerous driving effects. However, prescription medications are not the only ones to be aware of – you might take an over-the-counter antihistamine or sleep aid that negatively impacts your driving.

You need to take medication regularly, but not driving is not an option. How can you avoid the effects that can result in receiving DUI charges or causing an accident? You may wish to talk to your doctor or pharmacist about medications that help your condition while not causing such serious effects, or you could ask about dosage schedules that are the least likely to affect your driving. When facing a DUI due to prescription drugs, it is advisable to speak with an attorney.

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