Villarini & Henry, L.L.P.
888-834-8623 716-312-1136

Can a legal drug get me a DWI?

You may take medication every day without a thought to how it might affect you when you get behind the wheel. Some drugs may not come with a warning about their effects on driving, while with others the warning could be confusing. Your medication may not have any noticeable impairing side effects unless you combine it with another medicine or supplement, or you might not have previously had any side effects, only to be taken by surprise. For these and other reasons, New York drivers may find themselves facing DWI charges when they least expected them.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, different types of medication, whether over-the-counter or prescription, may cause impairments that could affect driving. These commonly include antidepressants, antihistamines, sleep aids, cold medicine and anti-anxiety medication. You might have a prescription for a chronic condition, such as seizures, high blood pressure or diabetes, which might cause impairment or adversely react with other medication. As a result, you might get behind the wheel and suffer a number of reactions that could affect your driving, ranging from drowsiness or dizziness to difficulty concentrating or even fainting.

If you know that a medication you are taking can cause impairment behind the wheel, the easiest way to avoid getting a DWI is not to drive after taking the medication. However, this is not always practical. You need a way to get to work and other places and cannot always rely on people for rides. You might speak with your doctor or pharmacist about the best times to take your medicine that will have the least impact on your driving, or about alternate medications. This information is not meant to be substituted for legal advice.

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Villarini & Henry, L.L.P.
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