Diabetes and DUI

A particular condition, prominent in 9.3% of the U.S. population, may have officers second guessing their DUI stops. If you suffer from diabetes, you may have a legitimate defense if arrested with a BAC above the legal limit.

The DUI Stop

Often when you are stopped by a police officer, you will be asked if you have been drinking. If you answer “yes,” you will likely be administered a breathalyzer test. Maryland is an implied consent state. This means you agree to allow law enforcement to administer a chemical test for the purpose of determining your BAC. Refusal of the testing will result in suspension of driving privileges and your arrest for driving under the influence.

No ‘Body’ is Perfect

A breathalyzer, while a good indicator of a person’s blood alcohol content, may not be 100% accurate. Even an experienced officer can interpret inaccurate results, especially if you are diabetic. The BAC of someone with diabetes may register as .08 (the state limit). However,rather than being under the influence, the driver could be suffering the effects of hypoglycemia.

Hypoglycemic Episode vs. Intoxication

Having a hypoglycemic episode is strikingly similar to being intoxicated. The driver could exhibit erratic driving, slurred speech, and balance problems due to low blood sugar.  The breathalyzer and field sobriety tests may not be easy for a diabetic. It is important for you, as a diabetic driver, to let the officer know of your medical condition.

However, if you forget to mention the fact that you have diabetes (or any other medical condition for that matter), the science behind your low blood sugar level may not prove to be on your side. A diabetic with hypoglycemia may develop ketoacidosis, which can generate acetone. Acetone isn’t something standard breathalyzers are designed to detect. A diabetic who has developed ketoacidosis may register a high BAC reading because the device mistakes the acetone for ethyl alcohol.

If you have been pulled over for a DUI and you have diabetes, the attorneys at  Alpert Schreyer, LLC have the experience to help you through it. They are familiar with breath testing instruments, and have the training to perform their own tests. As a certified breath alcohol technician and a certified NHTSA field sobriety test instructor, Alpert himself has ample knowledge on the testing process and is prepared to handle your DUI case. Contact Alpert Schreyer LLC today to set up your free consultation.

 

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