Tarnished Twenty- The FindLaw Sports Law Blog

Donovan McNabb Nabbed for DUI, Blames Cough Medicine

Donovan McNabb allegedly had a 0.17 blood alcohol content (over twice the legal limit) when he was arrested for a suspected DUI in Arizona last week. It's the former NFL QB's second such arrest in as many years.

But McNabb has an excuse this time. Video from the incident has McNabb blaming the whole thing on a cold: "Well, first of all, I got a cold. So I've been on cough medicine." Will his defense hold water?

NyQuil Not a Defense

First of all, yes, you can get a dui for driving on cold medicine. A DUI is driving under the influence and a DWI is driving while intoxicated and an OUI is operating under the influence; and state DUI laws don't limit any of those to drunk driving.

While your BAC is one component of proving intoxication and impairment, it is not a requirement that the alcohol in your blood come from wine, liquor, or beer. Nor is it a requirement that you drove poorly because you had too much to drink. You can get a DUI on over-the-counter or prescription meds.

While McNabb's assertion that he was on cold medicine and not Coronas might help him in the court of public opinion, it's not a legitimate defense in a court of law.

Extreme Charges for the High BAC

McNabb might be in serious trouble with his case. With that BAC, police could charge him with what's known in Arizona as "Extreme DUI," a charge that, alone, could mean 30 days in jail, thousands of dollars in fines, and installation of an interlock device on any cars he would drive. With this possibly being McNabb's second offense in Arizona, he could be looking at an extra 90 days in jail and the loss of his driver's license for a year.

McNabb responded to the allegations on his radio show, presumably not under the influence of cold medicine:

"There was a story that was released, and I want everybody to be cognizant of it, because I am very aware of it, handling the matter at this particular point," McNabb said. "But at this point, I have no further information, and as we continue on with the situation, then we'll let it handle as it will handle itself."

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