Question: On Friday night I was arrested for DUI in Cobb County. I was speeding and the cop said that I was going 30 miles per hour over the speed limit. He pulled me over and I said that I had not been drinking. The problem was that when I was speaking with the Roswell police officer my speech was slurred. I have been taking a lot of Pepto-Bismol for upset stomach and diarrhea.
I'm really not sure why my speech was slurred. I really didn't have much to drink that night and I haven't smoked pot in over a week. I do smoke a lot of marijuana but I'm trying to get a new job so I've cut back.
I've read that Pepto can cause slurred speech. And I do take anti-depressants and anxiety drugs. What should I do to show my slurred speech was not from drinking or drugs?
A.L. in Marietta
Answer: Many drugs, both prescription and over-the-counter (OTC), can have the side-effect of slurred speech. We have handled a number of DUI cases where at least part of the defense relies upon explaining slurred as caused by prescription or over-the-counter medication.
Slurred speech can have a great impact upon a jury in a drunk driving case, so it's important to try to negate it with evidence like valid prescriptions from doctors, receipts for OTC medicines and other explanations for the speech.
As for your question about Pepto-Bismol, yes, it is documented that Pepto can cause slurred speech.
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