Diabetes and DUI
Not all DUI cases are what they seem. In some cases, certain aspects of that person may cause a false arrest for DUI. For instance, when a diabetic is pulled over for suspicion of driving under the influence, it may be possible that the driver is sober and simply blew a false positive on a breath test and/or may have given the appearance of being intoxicated. This is because when a diabetic's body excretes ketones through urine and breath, it secretes an excessive number because the diabetes creates a buildup. The additional ketones can possibly cause a condition called diabetic ketoacidosis, which in some cases, can be lethal.
A diabetic's pancreas does not produce enough insulin, which forces the body to not use glucose, or blood sugar, as a fuel source and rely on fat as a fuel source. The liver is then forced to break down fat, and the liver will produce ketones in this process. The ketones are similar to isopropyl alcohol, which is different from the type of alcohol that people drink.
When a sober diabetic person experiences diabetic ketoacidosis, they may exhibit symptoms that are similar to that of an inebriated person. This includes being sluggish or having a ruddy complexion. Upon being asked questions by a police officer, a person suffering from diabetic ketoacidosis may be confused and feel nauseous. A sober diabetic person may fail field sobriety tests, because the diabetic ketoacidosis may cause a lack of coordination. Further, the diabetic person suffering an episode of diabetic ketoacidosis may have an alcohol odor on his or her breath, which may lead a police officer to believe that the driver is driving under the influence of alcohol. A police officer may then ask the driver to submit to a preliminary breath test, even though it is inadmissible in a Courtroom. Upon these results, if it shows a breath alcohol content higher than 0.08%, the police officer may ask the driver to submit to an evidentiary breath test or an evidentiary blood test, which may be used as evidence against the driver. While a blood test under these circumstances may show no alcohol in the driver's system, a breath test may provide a false positive. This is why some sober diabetics who blow into a breath testing machine and show a falsely elevated breath alcohol concentration. Under Nevada law, it is against the law to drive with a blood alcohol content or breath alcohol content that is 0.08% or higher, even if the person is driving safely and does not feel like they are impaired.
In other instances, diabetics can experience hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. This can happen when the individual takes too much insulin, skips a meal, or exercises excessively. The symptoms of hypoglycemia are similar to that of being intoxicated or being “high.” A diabetic with low blood sugar can appear shaky, sweaty, and nervous. The movements may be clumsy or jerky. In addition, the individual may be drowsy and confused. When talking to officers, the individual may exhibit slurred speech. This may lead police officers to believing the individual is driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
In Nevada, being a diabetic is not against the law and a medical episode can often present a viable defense to a DUI Charge. An experienced DUI defense attorney can use this information to defend against a serious DUI charge.
If you are a diabetic who believes you have been falsely arrested for a DUI, it is important to discuss the specifics of your case with an experienced Las Vegas DUI Attorney as soon as possible. In addition to facing criminal charges, the DMV may revoke your driving privileges based on a false reading. The quicker you contact an experienced Las Vegas DUI Attorney, like Josh Tomsheck, the quicker he can help put this unfortunate incident behind you. Las Vegas DUI Attorney Josh Tomsheck has handled hundreds of DUI cases with positive results. Josh Tomsheck has been able to help DUI clients have their charges dismissed entirely. For more on his case results, please click here. For your free consultation, please contact him here today!