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Prescription Drug Use May Lead to DUI Charges?

Most of the public awareness campaigns that focus on DUI talk about the dangers of drinking and driving. If you have too much to drink, you run the risk of being pulled over by law enforcement. While alcohol remains a significant factor in many DUI cases, there are other substances that may lead to impairment, including some that you may not expect.

A recent high-profile DUI arrest in another state highlights some of the potential issues that may be important to Pennsylvania drivers. A woman was arrested and charged with DUI after she had taken Ambien, a sleeping aid. It was the first day she had taken the drug, and was apparently unaware of the drug's effects. The reason this arrest was so noteworthy was that the woman served as a coroner, and was out performing official duties when stopped, leading to additional official misconduct charges.

When a physician prescribes medication, people may not realize the potential side effects of the drug. An individual may focus on recovering from illness or injury, because, after all, the medicine was recommended by a doctor to improve the patient's health.

Before using prescribed medication, people should check with their doctors about the effects of the drug. Ask if it will be safe to operate motor vehicles after taking the recommended dosage. Also, pay attention to how your body reacts. Not every patient will experience the same symptoms, so, if you feel like the medicine has made you unable to drive, do not get behind the wheel.

Facing DUI charges can be a difficult time, and this case also shows how a conviction can have a potentially devastating effect on a person's livelihood. Many occupations require a license or certification to perform the job tasks. A DUI can place this in jeopardy, meaning that a person may lose his or her job if convicted. With the consequences of a conviction being so severe, it is important to know the options available in each situation.

Source: IndyStar "Attorney: Hancock Co. coroner took medicine before DUI arrest" Bill McCleery, June 13, 2012.

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Gregory R. Gifford
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