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Charles T. Ganz

Did a medical condition contribute to your DUI arrest?

On Behalf of | Jun 17, 2024 | Drunk Driving Offenses

A DUI or DWI conviction can derail life as you know it. Depending on the severity of the offense and your criminal record, a conviction can threaten you with jail or prison time, license suspension or revocation, and a ripple effect of other consequences that can include lost employment, damage to your reputation, and modification of custody of your children.

We know that can be scary to think about, but there might be strong drunk driving defenses available to you. You could successfully challenge breath test results, field sobriety test results, or the legality of a traffic stop, all of which could be pivotal to the outcome of your case. But you also shouldn’t overlook how your medical condition may have contributed to your arrest.

Can a medical condition lead to a drunk driving arrest?

Absolutely. There are several medical conditions that can give the false impression that you’re presenting with signs of intoxication, which can then result in your arrest. Here are some of those conditions:

  • Diabetes: Diabetics often have symptoms that can easily be mistaken for signs of intoxication. Their low blood sugar levels can lead to poor coordination, confusion, slurred speech, and disorientation, and if an officer doesn’t ask about your medical condition, then they’re not going to be aware that what they’re observing is something other than intoxication.
  • Sleep apnea: This medical condition causes breathing disruptions that can result in a sufferer being awakened hundreds of times per night. The result, of course, is excessive tiredness and fatigue. These symptoms are often accompanied by irritability, too, which could be taken as a sign of drunkenness.
  • Heart conditions: Several heart conditions create symptoms that can be confused for impairment. Those who suffer from a heart condition can become excessively sweaty, which could be interpreted as nervousness, and experience bad coordination. This can make it difficult for these individuals to pass field sobriety tests.
  • Epilepsy: Individuals who suffer from this condition experience unexpected seizures. When one of these seizures occurs while driving, a serious accident can occur. The resulting confusion possessed by the epileptic can lead police officers to believe that they’re under the influence of drugs or alcohol, which can lead them to believe that intoxication caused the accident in question.
  • Neurological conditions: Disorders of the brain, including conditions like Parkinson’s disease, can leave an individual with tremors, lack of control of bodily movements, poor coordination, and muscle rigidity. Any one of these symptoms can be interpreted as a sign of intoxication and lead to a drunk driving arrest.

Raising your medical condition as a defense to drunk driving charges

If you think that your medical condition contributed to your drunk driving arrest, then now is the time to start building your criminal defense. You’ll want to gather your medical records, talk to experts who may be able to testify as to how your condition manifests in physical symptoms, and review the evidence the prosecution intends to use against you. By doing so, you’ll hopefully find areas of opportunity where you can attack the prosecution’s case.

By highlighting these areas of attack, you might be able to negotiate with prosecutors to obtain lesser charges with lighter corresponding penalties, or you may be able to convince them to drop the charges altogether. And even if they won’t, you’ll at least put them on notice of the defense that you plan to raise. If you’re aggressive here, then you might be able to obtain an acquittal and reclaim your normal life.