As a college student, something you might not realize is that you can get a DUI even without drinking alcohol. The truth is that a DUI can be given for any kind of impairment caused by drugs or alcohol.
Those drugs don’t have to be illicit, either. Drugs such as over-the-counter cold medications could also give you side effects severe enough to affect your driving ability. If that happens and you’re stopped, you could still be cited for driving under the influence.
Even your daily medications could result in a DUI
Have you ever felt tired after taking your daily allergy medication? Have you tried to go to work the morning after taking a sleeping pill and not felt quite like yourself? In those situations, it’s possible that you were dealing with side effects that could impact the way you drive.
There have been cases where people became too tired to continue driving and passed out behind the wheel. There are cases recorded where a driver was dizzy or disoriented because of a medication’s effects. If a driver is stopped with signs of impairment, even if they’re a result of medications, then a DUI could be given.
Can you defend against a DUI for drug use?
Yes, like any other charge, you do have an opportunity to defend yourself. There are several possible defenses that you could use, but one good one is to show that you did not know about the side effects that led to the traffic stop. For example, if you’ve taken the same allergy medication for many months and only developed sleepiness on that one occasion, then you may be able to argue that you didn’t know about the effect. You could also argue against knowing you’d be drowsy if you were taking a so-called “non-drowsy” medication, even though some of those still have the potential to cause that effect in some people.
Your DUI attorney will talk to you more about the situation leading up to your case to determine what kind of defense may work for you. Everyone makes mistakes, and it’s worth looking for a way to reach a positive outcome.