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Criminal, Family and Probate Law


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Medicines and impaired driving

On Behalf of | May 24, 2022 | DWI Defense

While penalties for impaired driving in Arkansas come with hefty fines and other serious consequences, you should know that not all offenses involve alcohol and illegal drugs. Several prescription and OTC medications can impact your ability to operate a motor vehicle safely.

A better understanding of when to not get behind a wheel could help keep you stay out of trouble.

Medications that do not mix with driving

The Food and Drug Administration warns drivers to watch out for medications that make it unsafe to drive when under their influence. These medications could cause side effects that impair your ability to stay awake, see clearly or make good decisions. Sometimes these effects begin quickly and last for a few hours, while other medications have longer-lasting impacts.

Reading the information on the medication bottle or from the pharmacy creates a better understanding of the impacts of the medicine. You should always heed any warnings that come with prescription medications. The following classes of medications might not mix well with driving:

  • Opioids
  • Anxiety medications
  • Codeine
  • Antidepressants
  • Anti-seizure drugs
  • Muscle relaxants

Drugs that cause side effects

A wide range of drugs results in side effects that could impair your driving. These include the above medications and sleeping pills, cold remedies, allergy medications and CBD. You could face a DWI charge if the authorities determine you took any drugs that impaired your driving ability. Side effects from these medications include dizziness, blurred vision, fainting, excitability and inability to concentrate.

Education about the medications you take can help you stay out of trouble. Understanding your legal rights, such as the difference between a DWI and a DUI in Arkansas, also could be beneficial.