Some of the symptoms of intoxication can include slurred speech, confusion, loss of balance while performing field sobriety tests, and stumbling. The problem lies with law enforcement officers believing that these symptoms are exclusive to DUI. The truth is, many medical conditions cause people to exhibit many of the same signs. Diabetes can cause confusion and other symptoms when a diabetic emergency occurs.
Someone who has suffered a stroke may have slurred speech or lack the coordination and balance necessary for completing sobriety tests. Other conditions can cause sweet-smelling breath, stumbling, and other symptoms that may be unfairly attributed to intoxication.
The biggest problem with law enforcement officers assuming intoxication over a medical condition is that valuable treatment time can be lost while the officer is questioning the driver or administering field sobriety tests.
This is an especially critical situation for diabetes patients or someone who has just had a stroke. Time is critical in reducing the damaging effects of these conditions and when law enforcement officers waste that time by assuming it is a simple case of DUI, the driver can suffer long-term damage to their bodies.
Unless you carry your medical records around with you or have a medic alert bracelet listing your condition, you’ll have a hard time convincing an officer that your symptoms are due to a medical condition and not due to too many cocktails. If the officer chooses to give you a citation for DUI despite your explanation of a medical condition, it is in your best interest to visit your doctor or a local hospital as soon as possible after your citation is given.
If you’re diabetic, you can have your blood sugar tested to determine if it was at a level that could cause any of the signs of intoxication. Other simple lab tests can determine if you were suffering from other conditions like an electrolyte imbalance, severe infections, or deficiencies in needed minerals in the body.
Your doctor can document the date and time of your test so that, when you go to court, you’ll have the evidence you’ll need to combat your DUI charge. You should also contact a California DUI attorney to help you handle your case. Having a qualified attorney on your side can help you navigate the legal system and have a better chance of winning your case.
This is just another example of how the legal system can turn a law-abiding citizen with a medical condition into someone facing criminal charges.