It is common for the term DUI to be associated with drinking and driving. However, driving under the influence in California may not always mean you have been drinking alcohol. There are other ways to be under the influence. In fact, a DUI could include any substance that alters your state of mind and affects your ability to drive safely. This includes prescription drugs.
You may have seen the warning about operating heavy equipment on the side of a prescription bottle. This warning indicates that you should not drive while on this medication because it can have negative effects on your body that make it unsafe to drive. So, even if you are taking a prescription legally, you could end up with a DUI if you choose to drive.
According to the Department of Motor Vehicles, the DUI law is the same for alcohol, prescription drugs and illegal drugs. You cannot drive with them in your system, and if they impact your driving abilities, you could face penalties. The DMV also warns that even common over-the-counter medications can affect your ability to drive, so you need to be aware of what you are putting in your body before you get on the road.
In general, if something you consume causes drowsiness or dizziness as a possible side effect, then you should not drive after taking it. You should always read the label of any medication you are taking to check for side effects. This information is for education and is not legal advice.