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What Prescription Drugs Can Lead to a DWI Arrest?

Updated: Jul 9, 2023 @ 2:48 pm

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Few people understand that our state’s DWI law applies to more than alcohol—but it does. In fact, you can be picked up for Driving Under the Influence of Drugs (DIUD) even with no alcohol in your system. That is because Texas prohibits driving when your “normal faculties” have been impaired by alcohol or by any drug. And this includes prescription drugs.

Below, our Houston DUID attorney looks at several common drugs which can lead to impairments and a possible DWI charge. Contact us immediately if you’ve been arrested.

Allergy Medication

Getting stuffed up is a minor inconvenience compared to some of the side effects of prescription-strength allergy medication. Some antihistamines like Clarinex can clear out your nasal passage, but they cause significant drowsiness as a side effect. With heavy eyelids, drivers can easily drift into oncoming traffic or fail to notice a pedestrian in a crosswalk.

Sleeping Pills

Any medication which has the purpose of inducing drowsiness is going to be dangerous and impair a person’s driving ability. Some of the more common sleeping pills include Ambien, Sonata, and Lunesta. They all treat insomnia by slowing your brain activity. Few people intentionally take a sleeping pill and then get into a car. But you might have taken your nightly pill before realizing you needed to go pick up your child or run an errand.

Ambien and similar drugs can also create a “hangover” effect the morning after. You might still feel drowsy and have a hard time waking up. If you begin driving, you could be picked up for DWI.


Many people take Adderall to treat attention deficit with hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD. The drug works to sharpen your attention by working on your central nervous system. However, one side effect is an increased feeling of fatigue when the drug wears off.

For every high there must be a corresponding low—and a fatigued driver could easily make some mistake behind the wheel that draws the attention of the police. If you begin to nod off and drift due to Adderall use, you can expect a DWI charge.

Anti-anxiety Drugs

Those suffering from crippling anxiety fortunately have several drugs to choose from to help control the condition, including Xanax, Librium, and Doral. These drugs counteract anxiety by suppressing a person’s central nervous system. As a result, people feel more relaxed. Unfortunately, the drugs can work too well. A motorist whose reflexes are slowed could easily hit someone or draw the attention of police.


Many doctors prescribe Vicodin or Oxycodone for pain relief. These painkillers can also induce drowsiness and dizziness. Although the pain is gone, so are your normal driving faculties.

Contact a Houston DWI Attorney Today

To get a conviction, the state only needs some evidence that you had used prescription drugs. A pill bottle in your car might be all the evidence they need to send you to jail for years. For help defending your case, contact Tad Nelson today. Our law firm can quickly swing into action to protect your freedom and ability to maintain a license.

Houston DWI Lawyer Tad A Nelson is Board Certified in Criminal Law by the TBLS.

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