Can I Get a DUI from Cough Syrup?


Can I Get a DUI from Cough Syrup?
Cough syrup is often referred to as a “wonder drug” for its ability to provide relief for debilitating symptoms of bad colds and cases of flu. Along with its effectiveness at combating stuffy noses, clogged heads, and fevers, cough medicine carries with it the ability to cause drowsiness and inhibit motor skills. Even the recommended dosage for over-the-counter (OTC) cough syrups can result in impairments that make driving a motor vehicle dangerous. Prescription cough syrup with codeine is a powerful drug that will further impair driving judgment and reaction times.

DUIs and Over-the-Counter Cough Medicine

Technically, when someone takes an over-the-counter cough syrup, a small amount of alcohol is being consumed. It would take a lot of OTC liquid cough medicine to register over the limit on a breathalyzer test, but it can happen.
While it is unlikely taking cold remedies will register on a roadside test, OTC cough syrups and other cold medicines can cause the following conditions that can impair your ability to safely operate a motor vehicle:
” Dizziness
” Drowsiness
” Poor concentration
” Poor coordination

Laws differ from state to state, but you can be charged with a DUI about anywhere in the United States if there is evidence of impaired driving, no matter if from alcohol, illegal drugs, or legal medications that can be purchased freely at your local drug store.

Additional OTC drugs that can impair your driving ability include:
” Alcohol-containing medicines
” Allergy medicines/Antihistamines
” Caffeine-containing medicines
” Decongestants
” Motion sickness medication
” Ulcer medication

DUIs from Prescription Cough Syrup with Codeine
Codeine is a powerful narcotic commonly used for pain relief and in prescription cough syrups. Cough syrup with codeine is prescribed for those that suffer from severe colds and touches of flu to suppress extreme symptoms. The prescription medication can makes patients dizzy or disoriented, and will mostly put them to sleep, which is a bad combination to have behind the wheel of a car.

If you are pulled over while driving after taking medicine with codeine, and you have not been drinking or abusing other drugs, it is recommended that you submit to any road-side sobriety test the officer asks you to take part in to prove you have not been drinking.

Causing an Accident While Driving on Codeine

If you had codeine in your system at the time of an accident that you caused, you will likely be charged with a drunk driving violation, which can be held against you if injured parties decide to press charges.

If you are charged with drunk driving for driving while under the influence of prescription cough syrup with codeine, you will need the services of a qualified defense attorney to represent you. A lawyer will be unable to stop you from being charged if tests show there was codeine in your blood, but they can help make sure your rights are protected.
Find Proper Legal Representation at

Even if you have taken the recommended dosage for an OTC or prescription cough medication, you can still be cited or charged for driving while impaired. If you have been pulled over or gotten into an accident after taking cough or cold medication, you will need experienced, qualified representation. is a comprehensive online resource for attorneys of all kinds in your area. Log on or contact us today for complete information on the process of finding you an attorney to represent your case.


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