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Prescription Drugs that Can Get You Arrested for DUI

— December 1, 2021

In essence, you are deemed impaired if your driving ability is diminished by a drug, even if your doctor prescribes it.

When you hear a person is charged with DUI (driving under the influence), do you automatically assume they are driving under the influence of alcohol? This is a common DUI myth. The truth is DUIs can also involve people that drive under the influence of legal and illegal prescription drugs.

While unfortunate to note, many people don’t know that over-the-counter and prescription medications are also drugs that can impair bodily functions and can put you at risk of getting a DUI. Surprisingly, prescription medication DUI is more common than most people think.

If you are charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or prescription pills, it is ideal that you seek the help of the best DUI attorney you can find. Keep in mind that a DUI charge can lead to serious consequences like steep penalties and fines, and mandatory jail terms.

While many prescription medications won’t impair your ability to drive, you can still get arrested for DUI if an officer believes you are impaired by your medications. Some of the prescription drugs that can lead to DUI charges include:


Image by James Paul, via
Image by James Paul, via

Adderall can leave people feeling tired, putting them at risk of getting involved in a DUI. Adderall is a combination of dextroamphetamine and amphetamine. It works by keeping you focused and attentive. Adderall is used to treat attention disorders such as ADHD.

Other drugs that can affect your ability to drive include Focalin, Ritalin, Vyvanse, and Adzenys. They work by stimulating the central nervous system. While the stimulation will typically last for six hours, it can leave you feeling tired and affect your driving.


Clarinex is a strong allergy medication and antihistamine. It works by counteracting the chemicals that trigger allergy symptoms known as histamine. Drugs that work the same way as Clarinex include Allegra, Claritin, and Benadryl.

The side effects of antihistamines are well known. Drowsiness is considered the most significant side effect of taking antihistamines. If you take anti-allergy medications and drive, you can become too tired to remain focused.


If you are taking Xanax, you can get charged with a DUI since the medication can leave you feeling sedated. Xanax, just like most anti-anxiety medications, contain benzodiazepines. They work by depressing the central nervous system so you will feel relaxed and calm. Similar medications are typically used to treat anxiety and insomnia.

Drugs that work the same way as Xanax include Librium, Ativan, Valium, and Doral. Since Xanax and similar medications can cause you to become too calm, it impairs your ability to operate a vehicle safely. The medications can also cause you to become too sedated that you won’t notice any dangers and react accordingly.


Another medication that can lead to a DUI charge is Ambien, a sleeping pill that can leave you feeling drowsy. Ambien is a medication that also belongs to the benzodiazepine family. It works by slowing down the activities in the brain and nervous system. The drug is used to treat insomnia and other sleeping problems.

Drugs that work in the same manner as Ambien include Lunesta and Sonata. Ambien and other sleeping pills can also cause certain side effects once you wake up. Similar to having a hangover, the medication can leave you feeling tired and lethargic. Many lawyers have successfully used the Ambien defence.


Vicodin and other strong painkillers typically contain hydrocodone and opioid. Vicodin and similar drugs work by blocking the pain signals and receptors in your spinal cord and brain. Similar medications include Roxiprin, Oxycodone, and Percocet.

Vicodin can lead to a possible DUI because it can leave you feeling drowsy, dizzy, and lightheaded. Understandably, those effects can significantly impair your ability to drive.

Final Thoughts

In essence, you are deemed impaired if your driving ability is diminished by a drug, even if your doctor prescribes it. In theory, as long as there is a reduction in your ability to drive, it is often enough to support a DUI charge.

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