Wyatt Hardy, PLC

Criminal, Family and Probate Law

Wyatt Hardy, PLC

Criminal, Family and Probate Law


Protecting Clients’ Rights. Working To Solve Problems.

How cold medication can impact a DWI charge

On Behalf of | Jun 15, 2022 | DWI Defense

When you think of a DWI charge, you think of someone who consumed alcohol or took illicit substances before driving. While these are examples of potential DWIs, you can also face charges because of the common cold.

When you take over-the-counter cold medication, it can lead to drowsiness and fatigue.

Is it illegal to drive after taking cold medication?

Some people believe that the law only considers alcohol and illicit substances regarding DWI. If you take cold medication that has no impact on your driving ability, odds are you will not face DWI charges. It is critical to understand how the medication affects your body. Some medicines affect your neurotransmitters and make you feel sleepy. Like you cannot drive under the influence of alcohol, you cannot drive if the medication affects your ability to remain alert behind the wheel.

What medications likely cause drowsiness?

There are several medications that contribute to feeling tired. Some of the most common medications include antihistamines. Common antihistamines that people take for colds and allergies include:

  • Brompheniramine
  • Diphenhydramine
  • Hydroxyzine
  • Meclizine

Some common allergy medications are also sleeping pills. If the cold the medicine markets towards a better night’s sleep, avoid it if you plan to get behind the wheel. Use caution whenever you take any medication and determine how your body reacts to it.

If the court determines you drove while intoxicated, you may face jail time from 24 hours up to one year, a six-month license suspension and a fine of up to $1000. Additionally, those convicted must have an ignition interlock device installed on their vehicle.