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Can prescription drugs cause a DUI?

Driving under the influence is a serious crime that law enforcement officials continue to work on curbing. Victims of DUI accidents can suffer traumatic injuries and even lose their lives. A charge for DUI is not just limited to alcohol and illegal drugs. One of the most common questions out there is can prescription drugs cause a DUI?

There are some drugs that can be legally purchased either over-the-counter or prescribed by a doctor that can cause a driver to be charged with DUI. The warning labels on medication are there for a reason. Drivers should always check the labels prior to taking the medication if they know they need to get behind the wheel of a vehicle. Medication can cause drowsiness and some even warn not to operate heavy machinery.

Drivers can be impaired by the following over-the-counter and prescription drugs:

- Valium: This is a popular tranquilizer that, if taking 10 mg, can lead to comparable blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.10.

- Antidepressants: Impairments similar to drunk driving can be caused by some of these sedatives.

- Antihistamines: A good number of these drugs can slow reaction time and impair a driver's coordination.

- Sleeping Pills: The residual effects of sleeping pills can affect a driver even in the morning, well after the pill was taken.

- Decongestants: The side effects of these over-the-counter drugs include drowsiness, dizziness and anxiety.

- Hydrocodone: This is a very common pain reliever and is the main ingredient in Vicodin. This drug causes similar impairments for users to codeine and morphine.

Medical marijuana can have the same effect on drivers as prescription and over-the-counter drugs. Marijuana impairment, even with a valid medical marijuana card, could also lead to DUI charges for a driver if he or she has been pulled over or involved in an accident.

Are you the victim of a DUI accident in Manhattan Beach, California? An experienced motor vehicle accidents attorney can help you build a strong defense strategy for your case.

Source: FindLaw, "Driving Under the Influence of Drugs," accessed May 11, 2017

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