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What you should know about medication side effects and DUIs

When you think about impaired driving and DUI/DWIs in North Carolina, the first thing that may come to your mind is alcohol. However, driving while under the influence of any controlled substance is illegal, so alcohol is not the only substance that could lead to a driving while impaired charge. People who use certain medications can receive DWIs too.

Law enforcement is arresting more people for driving under while under the influence of prescription drugs. Like many others, you may take your medicines as required, not realizing that the side effects put you in the same risk category as a drunk driver. Here is a brief overview of medication side effects and DWIs.

The effects can mimic the signs of alcohol intoxication

Some medications have side effects that are similar to the effects of alcohol in that they alter your perception, thinking processes and movements, impairing your ability to drive safely. For example, some prescription opioids and benzodiazepines may cause you to experience dizziness, insomnia, jitteriness and poor judgment. The effects are worse if you take these substances with alcohol or other medications and narcotics.

Dealing with a drug-related DWI charge

Prescription-related DWIs are not automatically dismissible. You will need to go through the same legal process as a person who has an alcohol-related DUI. It is possible for you to avoid this type of situation altogether in the future if you understand how your medications affect you. Delay getting behind the wheel until you are sure the side effects do not affect your driving ability. If you must carry your prescriptions with you, make sure they remain in the same container that your pharmacist or doctor dispensed them in.

Matters involving drug-related DWI charges can become complicated and leave you feeling confused about what to do. You should consider speaking to an attorney about your situation to learn your options. 

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