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Did your medical condition lead to DUI charges?

On Behalf of | Mar 18, 2022 | DUI

Allegations of drunk driving can be more severe than you think. That’s why you need to diligently work to build the strong criminal defense that you deserve. That’s oftentimes easier said than done, though, especially if your experience with the criminal justice system is limited.

But skilled attorneys like those at our firm are here to help. We know how to analyze the evidence and build the strong legal arguments that you need on your side. One way that we can go about doing that is assessing any existing medical conditions that you have and determine whether police officers’ observations of intoxication can be attributable to symptoms of your condition.

What medical conditions can skew a drunk driving analysis?

Law enforcement officers are trained to observe signs of intoxication. But they’re not doctors, which means that even if you tell them that you have a medical condition, they aren’t automatically going to link that to any signs of intoxication that they may observe.

But what medical conditions cause symptoms similar to intoxication? Here are just a few of them:

  • Diabetes: Those who suffer from diabetes can suffer from emergencies that can cause them to appear as if they’re drunk. They may become confused and irritable, and they may even develop the smell of alcohol on their breath. Officers often can’t discern these symptoms from signs of intoxication.
  • Epilepsy: Individuals who suffer from this condition can experience a seizure at any time and without warning. When this happens while driving, an accident can occur. Once officers arrive at the scene, the driver may appear disoriented and confused. They may even struggle to maintain consciousness. These signs can be mistaken for intoxication, thereby leading to a drunk driving arrest.
  • Dementia: Those with dementia can struggle with balance, confusion, and disorientation. Officers may think these signs are indicative of intoxication, especially when they present in younger individuals.
  • Brain injuries: The symptoms of a brain injury can mimic those seen in intoxicated individuals. These individuals may have speech impairments and coordination issues, especially if they’ve suffered a stroke in the past or some form of traumatic brain injury. Their cognition can be diminished, too, which can make it hard for them to follow instructions given by police officers.

How do you use your medical condition in your criminal defense?

The burden is on the prosecution to prove that you were over the legal limit or otherwise intoxicated when you were driving. This may sound straightforward, but when a medical condition is involved, things can get complicated. But if you have an expert testify on your behalf, then you may be able to convince a judge or jury that your errant driving or your signs of intoxication are attributable to your condition rather than drunkenness or some other form of intoxication, even if you have some alcohol in your system.

Be comprehensive in building your criminal defense

Utilizing your medical condition is just one way that you can go about defending yourself in a DUI case. But in order to build the best case possible, you have to know your options and how to exploit them to your advantage. An attorney who is well-versed in this area of the law can help guide you through your options and how best to present them to the court. If you want an aggressive advocate on your side, then now may be the time for you to reach out to an attorney who you think will give you the strong representation that you need on your side to protect your interests.