Unfortunately, there is a frequent correlation between diabetes and
DUI charges. According to Diabetes Health, diabetics are at risk of getting
unfairly arrested for DUI and triggering inaccurate results on breathalyzer tests.
Diabetes is a common disease in the United States. 15 to 20 percent of
all drivers on the road are diabetics.
How Can Diabetes Lead to Unfair DUI Charges?
People with either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes experience “hypoglycemia”
when their blood sugar is too low. This often the result of taking too
much insulin, skipping a meal, or exercising too often.
So what does hypoglycemia have to do with DUI? The symptoms of this medical
condition are quite similar to having had too much to drink or taken drugs.
Therefore it is not uncommon for individuals with diabetes suffering from
hypoglycemia to get pulled over while driving—and for law enforcement
officials to then suspect them of drunk or drugged driving.
The following are common symptoms of hypoglycemia:
- Slurred speech
- Jerky movements
On the other hand, ketosis and ketones are also associated with diabetes.
Ketones are the waste acids found in the liver as a byproduct from the
process of breaking down fat. It is known that bodies of diabetics either
do not produce insulin, do not produce enough of it, or do not use insulin
properly. So without insulin, the body cannot make use of glucose as fuel—which
means fat is broken down by the liver instead.
Ketones are excreted in both the breath and urine. In many diabetics, however,
the liver produces too many ketones for the body to fully eradicate. Thus
resulting in a buildup of ketones that can result in ketoacidosis (DKA).
DKA symptoms typically resemble those of alcohol impairment. A police officer
who doesn’t understand diabetes could easily arrest an individual
suffering from DKA for DUI.
Common DKA symptoms include:
- A flushed face
- Decreased coordination
- Frequent urination
- Dry mouth or excessive thirst
- Nausea or vomiting
- “Fruity” smelling breath that can be misconstrued as signs
of alcohol consumption
Furthermore, ketosis can fool a DUI breathalyzer test into reporting a
falsely high BAC level. Ketones resemble isopropyl alcohol, which is different
from ethyl alcohol that is commonly found in alcoholic drinks. So when
a diabetic’s body is producing excess ketones, they may test positive
on a DUI breath test.
What You Need to Do If You are Diabetic & Charged with a DUI
The Law Offices of Robert F. Sommers, we understand the impact of diabetes on a DUI case. Our Ventura DUI attorney
is use your medical condition as a powerful legal defense for fighting
DUI charges and getting your case dismissed entirely.
If you have been recently arrested for a DUI in Ventura County,
contact us and request a
free initial consultation today.