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Alcohol is not the only cause of DUI

On Behalf of | Apr 17, 2018 | blog

When it comes to the idea of driving under the influence, most New York residents imagine a driver who had too much to drink at a bar or party. However, DWIs and DUIs cover a wide variety of situations. Driving under the influence simply means that the driver is not fully able to focus and navigate carefully behind the wheel.

The main danger of assuming that DUI only includes drunk driving is that you might not realize the ways in which your ability to drive could be affected. Take a moment to learn about the common non-alcoholic causes of DUI charges to stay safe on the road.

Prescription drugs

Taking your prescribed medication is legal and healthy. However, you can run into legal trouble if you don’t follow the directions from your doctor.

Many prescription-strength medications cause drowsiness, including drugs to treat depression, anxiety and sleeping difficulties or to relax muscles. Fatigued driving is extremely dangerous. Unfortunately, caffeine isn’t enough to keep you alert for driving.

If you have a prescription that causes drowsiness, talk to your doctor about the best time to take it or switching to one that may have fewer side effects.

Over-the-counter medication

Everyone knows the misery that a cold or flu brings. Even when you’re sick, you probably can’t put life on hold. You likely visit a pharmacy to pick up medicine to clear sinuses or soothe the stomach.

These medications might not be prescription-strength, but they’re stronger than you may realize. Antihistamines and antidiarrheals often cause fatigue. Tired drivers are more likely to swerve and have sluggish reaction times.

Recreational drugs

While each substance affects drivers in different ways, illegal drugs affect the brain similarly to alcohol. Hallucinations can make drivers unable to detect roadway hazards. Some drugs, like alcohol, make the user more eager to take risks. On the road, these risks can kill.

Minor traffic stops can lead to serious drug charges if police discover that the driver is high. Even marijuana, which is becoming legal for medical use, can lead to DUI and possession charges.

No matter the cause, these charges can take a serious toll on a person’s life. Although medication and drugs won’t affect a breath test, police may be able to detect substances with other tests. If you face a DWI or DUI, it’s important to form a defense strategy before doing anything else.