DUI And Over-The-Counter Medicine: What You Need To Know

Most people assume that those who get in trouble for driving under the influence are those with alcohol or illegal drugs in his or her system. However, you could be at risk for a DUI with some regular over-the-counter pain medication, as some have the tendency to show on a breath test. The following are some things you need to know:

Toothache Medicine

If you have a toothache, most use an oral analgesic gel on the gums to help numb the pain. The ingredients in the gel could cause you to fail a breath test, as some the active ingredients are alcohol based. Ingredients such as phenol and benzocaine can cause an increased reading on a breathalyzer.

Cold Medicine

Cold and flu medicine can also result in a failed breath test, particularly cough syrup. Cough syrup has a high alcohol volume. Sleep or nighttime cough medication is even higher in alcohol since they are meant to help you sleep. If take a dose of cold medication before you drive, especially the nighttime variety, you could fail a breath test.

Cough Drops

Similar to cough medicine, cough drops could also cause you to fail a breath test. Believe it or not, some brands will use a lot more alcohol than others. To know for sure, be sure to read the list of ingredients. The primary reason why you could fail a breath test is due to the remnants of the cough drops left inside your mouth and on your teeth after you ingest. If you intend to use cough drops when you drive, have a bottle of water on hand to help wash away the residue from your mouth.

Asthma Medicine

If you have asthma and use an inhaler, you could be mistakenly charged with a DUI if you are pulled over. The inhaler uses methyl, which is alcohol based. If you are tested immediately after you use your inhaler, you could fail the breath test.

These are only a few examples of medicine that can trigger a positive breathalyzer test. If you get pulled over for a suspected DUI, you need to mention your use of these medications. You may not be able to get through to the officer right away, but further investigation will help. If you are arrested for DUI after using over-the-counter medicine, be sure to talk to your DUI attorney to find out what your options are.