Can use of medicine with alcohol constitute a DUI?

In Maryland, there are very strict DUI laws in place that are meant to stop people from driving while under the influence.

While most people think of drinking alcohol and then driving when they consider DUI crimes, is that the only potential source of a DUI?


FindLaw talks about DUI as related to other substances, including medications and drugs. Obviously, consuming illicit substances and then driving is one type of crime that can result in you getting a DUI, among other charges. But what about drugs that aren’t illicit? What about things like cough syrups or cold medicines that may have alcohol in them, or may result in drivers suffering from drowsiness?


You can, in fact, be charged with a DUI because you took over-the-counter or non-prescription medication that caused you to suffer from symptoms that impact your ability to drive properly. Most medications like this have warnings on the box that state people should not operate vehicles after taking a dose. Because of this, people who ignore the warning and choose to drive anyway can face charges.


Some medicines have side effects so potent that it can seem like a driver is under the influence of illicit substances, too. Because of this, you may be facing even more charges, such as reckless driving or endangerment.


Being faced with a DUI-related charge of any sort could potentially impact anyone’s life. It is important for everyone to be aware of just how deep the potential repercussions for taking medicine like this and then driving can be, as some may not know.



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