Because of the way that field sobriety tests are administered and the rapid results of roadside breath tests, many people tend to assume that those who get accused of driving under the influence (DUI) are guilty.
Equipment isn’t perfect, and it can’t account for certain medical conditions.
Unfortunately, the belief that field sobriety tests are infallible is just wrong. An officer can make mistakes when performing a roadside test. A breath test machine may not have been calibrated recently, resulting in inaccurate readings. Even worse, there are cases where serious medical issues can create symptoms that look like alcohol intoxication. In these scenarios, you need a robust defense to push back against the potential issues that come from a DUI conviction.
Diabetes can produce alcohol impairment-like symptoms
Many people know that they are at risk for diabetes thanks to modern medicine. Others, however, may suddenly experience a blood sugar episode due to diabetes without having a diagnosis. Some of the possible symptoms include slurred speech, issues with depth perception, problems with coordination and balance, and confusion. A driver presenting these symptoms could fail a roadside sobriety test without ever taking a drink.
Officers get trained to test for intoxication by checking balance, eye movement, pupil dilation and memory. Any of these responses could end up compromised or diminished as the result of undiagnosed and untreated diabetes. The officer may see your behavior or responses as a clear sign that you are intoxicated, when in reality you are in need of medical help.
Diabetes can even cause a false positive on a breath test
You probably think that people who fail roadside tests will get exonerated when the breath test is performed. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. Those who struggle with untreated diabetes can enter a state known as ketoacidosis. When you experienced ketoacidosis, your body produces acetone, which gets expelled through the lungs. This compound belongs to the same chemical family as alcohol, which can result in a false positive on a breath test.
For those who are stopped and charged with a DUI without ever having a drink, getting a medical examination can help with defense against the charge. In cases where there is a clear cut medical explanation for the issues in the roadside stop, fighting against a DUI can be a straightforward legal process. While the police may not have been able to determine that your issues were medical, not chemical in nature, a doctor can help convince the courts of that fact.