You may think that you are safe from a DUI offense because you do not drink or do illegal drugs. While this is usually the case, sometimes prescription or over-the-counter medications can lead to a DUI. This is because they can cause the same safety issues – poor response time, drowsiness, and difficulty paying attention – that is caused by alcohol or illegal drugs. If you are pulled over or in an accident, the following guide can help you navigate the common issues.
#1: Do Not Admit Fault
While it is common knowledge that you shouldn't admit fault for causing an accident, you also don't want to say anything that makes you look guilty of a DUI. For example, don't say that you swerved because you were feeling drowsy because of your medication. This is effectively admitting that you are driving under the influence and deserve a DUI.
#2: Know Your Rights
Not admitting fault does not mean that you need to be dishonest, just do not mention prescription medications. You do not need to answer any questions unless you are placed under arrest, and then you do not need to answer any until you have a lawyer. Politely decline to answer any questions that could potentially be self-incriminating.
#3: Don't Depend on the Breathalyzer
Most officers depend upon field testing, such as a breathalyzer or motion test to check for DUI. Prescription medications will not usually trigger a breathalyzer, but you may fail the motion test, such as walking a straight line. If you have any health or physical conditions that make motion tests difficult, tell the officers at the outset. This may not prevent an arrest, but it does begin building your case that your behavior is not due to your medications.
Another issue is that the officers may request a blood or urine test. The problem is that these tests may show prescription medications in your blood, even if you had not taken them recently. This is why you should contact a lawyer before permitting a test.
#4: Know That You May Still Be Found At Fault
Taking legal over-the-counter medications or a prescription drug as it is prescribed to you does not necessarily mean that you will be found innocent. This is especially true if there are known and published side effects that can affect the safe operation of a vehicle. It's vital that you contact a DUI lawyer as soon as possible if you are arrested.