DiLorenzo & Rush | Counselors of Law
Stepping Up & Standing Out

Can a medical condition lead to a DUI arrest?

On Behalf of | May 16, 2024 | Criminal Defense

Allegations of drunk driving can threaten to derail life as you know it. The simple fact that you’ve been alleged to have committed a crime can damage your reputation and your standing in the community. A conviction can lead to jail time, suspension or revocation of your driving privileges, and court costs and fees.

Your record might also affect your current employment and your ability to secure another job. That’s why it’s important that you do everything in your power to protect your freedom and clear your name. But how do you go about doing that?

One option is to look at how your medical conditions may have affected your breath test or field sobriety test results. Depending on your circumstances, this could be a winning argument in your drunk driving defense. Let’s take a closer look.

Medical condition that could lead to erroneous drunk driving charges

Many people don’t realize that there are several medical conditions that can impact your performance during field sobriety tests. Other conditions can even lead to false positives on breath tests. In either circumstance, you could be subjected to an erroneous DUI arrest. Here are some medical conditions that may have an impact on your case:

  • Diabetes: Individuals who suffer from diabetes can become hypoglycemic, which is a significant drop in your blood sugar level. This can result in slurred speech, lack of balance, and confusion, any one of which can be confused for intoxication. Adverse reactions to insulin can also occur, resulting in similar symptoms. Diabetics can also have high levels of acetone in their breath, which can give an artificially high breath test result.
  • Heart conditions: Several heart conditions create symptoms that can be confused for drunkenness. An individual who has a heart condition can become dizzy, sweat excessively, and struggle with coordination. This can make it hard for them to pass field sobriety tests, and an uninformed police officer might mistake their demeanor as just another gauge of intoxication.
  • Epilepsy: This condition causes sudden seizures. When one of these seizures occurs during driving and a DUI stop or a crash results, the epileptic might appear impaired given their confusion and disorientation after their seizure. An officer might be quick to chalk these behaviors up to intoxication.
  • Neurological disorders: Some conditions that impact the brain can negatively impact one’s balance and their steadiness, meaning that they might exhibit tremors similar to those that are associated with heavy drinkers.
  • Traumatic brain injury: Those who have suffered a traumatic brain injury can also experience bouts of confusion, irritability, and loss of balance. Any one of these behaviors can cause an individual to fail a field sobriety test.
  • Gastrointestinal issues: Several of these conditions cause alcohol vapors to escape the stomach and reside in the mouth. As a result, a breath test conducted on someone with one these conditions may return artificially high results.
  • Dental issues: Some dental conditions can lead to alcohol-releasing bacteria developing in the mouth. This can skew breath test results.

Be thorough in building your drunk driving criminal defense

There’s a good chance that the prosecution is going to try to pressure you into pleading guilty in your drunk driving case. Regardless of how good the plea deal looks, though, you shouldn’t act on it until you’ve fully assessed your criminal defense options.

After all, there may be effective strategies that you can use to obtain an acquittal or pressure the prosecution into reducing or even dismissing the charges levied against you. So, be diligent and be thorough in building the aggressive drunk driving defense you need on your side.