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4 Substances Other Than Alcohol That Can Leave You Needing a Denver Criminal Lawyer

February 14, 2018

When most people think about getting a DUI, they think about driving while drunk or buzzed. While alcohol may be the most common reason people call a Denver criminal defense attorney, it’s not the only substance that can get you pulled over. In fact, there are many different legal substances that may put you and others in danger when you get behind the wheel. Here are a few of the most commonly used substances that, when abused, can end up making you too intoxicated to drive.

Prescription Drugs

Believe it or not, certain prescription drugs can impair your motor skills, making it difficult if not dangerous to get behind the wheel. Some painkillers, sleep aids, and even cough medicine is strong enough to earn you a DUI if you end up driving while the medication is in your system. Before giving you the medication, your doctor and your pharmacist should go over the potential side effects of the drugs and warning labels will indicate if the medication could interfere with your driving ability. Remember, just because a drug is prescribed by your doctor doesn’t mean you’re okay to drive—you can still be arrested and charged with a DUI if you’re caught behind the wheel.  


Though marijuana is fully legal in Colorado, it can still impair your judgement behind the wheel. Typically, drivers under the influence of marijuana are more cautious and less aggressive than those that drive drunk. Most often, high drivers stick to slow speeds and long stopping distances, but they also tend to weave in the lane and may have delayed reaction times. While socially considered less harmful and dangerous than alcohol, it can still put you at risk for a DUI if you drive while high. Though the legal limit for marijuana impairment in Colorado is 5 nanograms of TCH in your system. However, officers will arrest you if they perceive that you’re impaired or high.


While going to the dentist and having your wisdom teeth extracted may not seem like a big deal, the medications they use to help you through the pain can do serious damage to your driving ability. Even local anesthetics and topical analgesics can leave you feeling groggy and slow your reaction time. Depending on how you react to these side effects, the impairment may be severe enough to change how you drive home. When in doubt, call a cab and pick your car up when the medicine wears off.

Over-the-Counter Medicines

Many over-the-counter medicines like cough syrup, decongestants, and antihistamines can leave you feeling drowsy. While their side effects may not be as severe as their prescription counterparts, they can still be dangerous. When combined with other substances, like a single drink after work, their effects can be extreme. Just because the medicine is available without a prescription does not mean it’s incapable of impairing your driving ability.
If you’re fighting a DUI conviction, you don’t have to deal with the legal proceedings on your own. Contact the Law Office of John L. Buckley, P.C. He’ll work to help you mount the best defense possible.