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Caught a cold? It could land you with a DUI charge

| Jul 19, 2021 | DUI |

When you get sick and have to get medication to feel better, the last thing you’re worried about is a DUI. After all, you’re focused on getting through the day while sneezing, coughing and not feeling your best.

It’s important to understand that being unwell can have unintended consequences, especially when you start taking medications. If you take over-the-counter or prescription medications for your cold, you could find yourself facing a DUI charge if you’re stopped for a traffic violation.

Isn’t a DUI for people who were drunk on alcohol?

It’s a common misconception that DUIs are only possible if a driver was intoxicated with alcohol. In reality, a person can face a DUI if they are impaired by any kind of substance, whether that’s an over-the-counter cold medicine, a sleep aid, prescription antibiotics or another.

Remember, anything that impairs the way you drive and react can lead to a DUI. That means that if you are drowsy on a cold medicine, you shouldn’t be behind the wheel. If you’re disoriented on antibiotics or take a pain medication for a headache that makes you dizzy, opt to have someone else take you to work or call off.

Will medication trigger a positive Breathalyzer test?

It’s possible that some medications could trigger a positive Breathalyzer test. For instance, cold medicines and some mouthwashes may contain ethyl alcohol, which may trigger a Breathalyzer test. If you’re unsafe on the roads as well as having a positive test come back, then an officer is within their right to arrest you.

What should you do if you face a DUI arrest?

Being sick and getting arrested is not in anyone’s plans. If you are stopped by an officer, you should not say or do anything that could incriminate you. Don’t offer any extra information. Your right to remain silent is important in protecting your freedoms, so remember that you only need to give your identifying information and listen to the officer’s instructions to take the Breathalyzer test or perform the roadside sobriety tests. If they arrest you, you may ask for your attorney before you have any further conversations.