When you think about what might lead to a DUI in Kentucky, you may not think of your average over-the-counter allergy medication. Since Kentucky is in such a heavy allergen area, you’re probably used to taking medications like Benadryl or Claritin. You may not even have many side effects anymore.
Problematically, these medications can cause side effects even when you haven’t had them for a while. If you skip a day or two of your medications, the first time you take them again may cause more symptoms than you’re used to seeing. If you’re driving when those side effects kick in, you could end up making a mistake, dozing off or driving distractedly, and those actions could catch the attention of a police officer.
Can a police officer accuse you of a DUI without alcohol in your system?
Yes, even though you may not have alcohol in your system, if you appear to be intoxicated, the officer can ask you to take field sobriety tests, a Breathalyzer test and potentially arrest you. Over-the-counter medications can cause some of the same symptoms as alcohol, like drowsiness, nervousness, disorientation and slow reaction times, so the officer’s goal may be to get you off the road first and foremost. Then, you may end up facing charges for driving while impaired.
Know your medications before you drive
You need to get to know your medications before you drive, so you can make the decision to drive (or not) based on the side effects that you have to deal with. For example, if you know that Benadryl makes you tired for an hour after you take it, try to take it early enough in the day that it won’t affect you when you drive. Alternatively, look for a different way to get to your destination, such as taking a bus or rideshare service.
It is the unfortunate reality that you can face a DUI for driving while impaired on common, everyday medications. If you find yourself in this position, it is a good idea to work on a defense, so you can protect your rights, license and freedoms.