In New Mexico, as well as elsewhere in the United States, it is possible to get a DUI due to being impaired by a substance other than an illicit drug or alcohol. Even prescription medications can cause DUIs. It’s not just prescription medications, either. Over-the-counter medications, like simple sleep aids or allergy pills, may cause you to feel drowsy or disoriented, which may lead to a DUI.
Prescription and non-prescription medications both have the potential to cause side effects that may impair a driver’s ability to drive safely. When that happens, the driver may be impaired enough to cause them to make mistakes or cause a crash.
It’s illegal to drive while under the influence
It is not legal to drive while you’re under the influence of drugs of any kind if those drugs impair you to the point of being unsafe. For example, if you take a Benadryl, then you could become extremely tired. Driving while drowsy is a common cause of driving errors and collisions, so an officer who stops you may end up arresting you for driving while impaired on your medications.
Are there ways to defend yourself against charges for a medication-related DUI?
Yes, there are. For example, if you’ve taken this medication for a long time and never had side effects like you had during that traffic stop, you may be able to defend yourself. Similarly, if you didn’t know that certain side effects were possible because they weren’t listed in the medication’s literature, then you may argue that you had no idea that you were or could be impaired by taking the drug. This is something to think about as you put together a defense for your case.