There are certain medical conditions that may make a person appear to be intoxicated. For example, some symptoms of hyperglycemia and alcohol impairment may be similar. Hyperglycemia occurs when a person’s blood glucose concentration is above normal levels. A person who is suffering from hyperglycemia may experience slurred speech, blurred vision, fatigue, confusion, and fruity-smelling breath. Such symptoms may lead an officer to believe that a person is driving under the influence of alcohol.
Jane was diagnosed with hyperglycemia as a teenager. When her blood sugar rises, her breath smells like alcohol and she appears confused due to fatigue. While driving home after a long day of work, Jane is pulled over by Police Officer Kelly for making an illegal U-turn. Police Officer Kelly approaches Jane’s vehicle and asks her a series of questions. Jane hands Officer Kelly her driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance card. Officer Kelly believes that Jane smells of alcohol and looks confused. She asks Jane is she has consumed any alcohol. Jane states that she has not. Officer Kelly request Jane to step out of the car to perform field sobriety tests. Jane complies.
Field sobriety tests are used to determine whether a person is under the influence of alcohol. A police officer may make a person walk in a straight line, recite the alphabet backwards, or examine their eye coordination to determine if whether he/she is intoxicated. Based on the results of the test, an officer may ask a driver to take an alcohol breath test. Well, if hyperglycemia is left untreated, ketoacidosis can develop. Ketones are similar in chemical composition as isopropyl alcohol. A DUI breath testing device may misread it as intoxication (most breath test devices cannot distinguish between ethyl and isopropyl alcohol).
Jane agrees to take the breath test. The device reads that her blood alcohol content level is .04%. Jane is arrested for drunk driving and taken down to the police station for further testing. At the police station, Jane is required to take another breath test. The results show that her BAC is .04%. Jane claims that she has not consumed any alcohol within the past 24 hours. She is later charged with drunk driving.
In the example above, Jane will need to hire a DUI defense attorney to help prove that her medical condition made it appear as though she was driving under the influence of alcohol. People who suffer from hypoglycemia can also be subject to false arrest for DUI in Washtenaw County.
Hypoglycemia occurs when a person’s blood glucose falls below normal levels. It usually occurs when the body has too much insulin. Common symptoms of hypoglycemia include confusion, dizziness, feeling shaky, pale skin, sweating, and a racing pulse. Severe symptoms consist of poor coordination and concentration, passing out, and coma.
If you live in the Washtenaw County area, and have been charged with drunk driving, contactattorney Stacey Washington for legal advice and guidance. She can review the facts of the arrest, your medical history, and the breath test results, to help establish a defense to the charge asserted against you. Call (734)274-6567 to schedule a consultation.