Many people with diabetes experience a condition known as hypoglycemia. This occurs when a person skips a meal, exercises too much or takes an excessive amount of insulin. Some of the symptoms of hypoglycemia include sweating, shakiness, confusion and slurred speech. Unfortunately, this condition exhibits similar symptoms to being under the influence of alcohol. As a result, the police mistakenly arrest many people for DUI each year.
If an officer pulls over a diabetic driving a vehicle erratically, then the person should inform the officer of his or her medical condition. It may not be an excuse for careless driving, but it will let the cop know that traditional DUI tests will not work.
The condition can fool a cop and a breathalyzer
Many cops will conduct field sobriety tests, such as having a person walk in a straight line, to determine whether there is reasonable cause to believe that a driver is intoxicated. With hypoglycemia, a person may not be able to succeed in these tests even though he or she had no alcohol to drink.
The driver may think a breathalyzer test will clear things up when in actuality, it could complicate matters. Breathalyzers do not explicitly measure alcohol levels in the blood. They instead register acetone, which is typically a byproduct of hypoglycemia. Therefore, the cop may think the person is under the influence when it is really a medical condition.
To help prevent diabetic hypoglycemia, individuals should take their medication on time every day. They should also carry medical identification with them at all times. That way, if a police officer pulls someone over, then the driver can show that he or she is not actually under the influence.
In the event you are a diabetic mistakenly arrested for DUI, then do not hesitate to contact an attorney. An attorney will be able to explain to the judge, officers and jury how hypoglycemia can affect a breathalyzer test.