Many people think of DUI charges as the consequences for overindulging in alcohol or for taking illegal drugs. However, you can end up facing charges even if partying was the last thing on your mind.
Because some prescription drugs can affect your ability to drive safely, driving under their influence can violate Georgia law.
You can face charges even when you legally took your medication
It is important to understand that you can break the law even if you take your own legally prescribed medication precisely according to your doctor's instructions. It also does not matter whether you knew your medication could affect your driving. The two major issues to determine would be whether you intentionally took the medication and whether it caused you to drive less safely.
Talk to your doctor
Various types of drugs doctors commonly prescribe have known side effects that will likely impair driving safety. Some examples include anxiety medications, sleep aids and painkillers. These substances can impair vision, slow reaction times, affect physical coordination or make it difficult to focus. Some cause extreme sleepiness or dizziness.
You should stay aware that even a medication that does not have a reputation for serious side effects may still cause them. Discussing any new medication and its potential effects with your doctor and pharmacist can give you more information. While many such medications also come with warning labels, the absence of this label does not mean anyone is guaranteeing the drug will not have concerning effects.
More issues to consider
Some people do experience rare, unpredictable effects that may not come up in these discussions. To stay on the safe side, avoid driving after taking a new medication for the first few times. The same applies if you need a different dosage or even change from generic to brand, or the other way around. Sometimes, a drug may not produce an effect on its own but will do so in combination with another medication or with even a minute amount of alcohol. Over-the-counter medications, especially those designed to alleviate colds or insomnia, can also produce powerful effects that can impair driving.