Four Medical Conditions That Can Be Mistaken for Intoxication
If you are stopped on suspicion of driving while intoxicated, the police officer will be looking for signs that you may be under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Besides the telltale odor of alcohol, symptoms of intoxication include slurred speech, watery eyes, and appearing disoriented. However, there are pre-existing medical conditions that may cause these same symptoms without you being intoxicated. Even a breath alcohol test can be tainted by a medical condition. An officer will likely assume that these symptoms are due to intoxication, and it may not occur to you to mention your medical condition during your stop. You need to tell your DWI defense lawyer if you have any of the following conditions:
- Diabetes: A person with diabetes can function normally as long as they keep their blood sugar at a stable level. If their blood sugar falls too low, they can become irritable, dizzy, and disoriented – all of which the officer could interpret as intoxication. Additionally, people with diabetes may have an abnormally high amount of ketones in their breath, which a breath test may mistake for alcohol.
- Brain Injury: Suffering a brain injury can cause symptoms that never fully go away. The victim may always have trouble with speaking, short-term memory, and coordination. Your friends and family may understand that this is how you normally behave, but a police officer does not know that and may conclude that you are intoxicated.
- Epilepsy: People with epilepsy can suffer seizures without warning. If a seizure happens while they are driving, they could get into a serious accident or be forced to pull over. A police officer who encounters someone having a seizure may see a person who is unresponsive, distracted, dizzy, or even violent. They may arrest the person on suspicion of DWI without knowing that the person is suffering a medical emergency.
- Dementia: Dementia is a degenerative mental condition, meaning that the symptoms will progress over time. A person in the early stages of dementia may occasionally be confused, unresponsive, or irritable. A police officer may conclude that an intoxicating substance is causing this behavior and not a mental condition.
Contact a San Antonio DWI Defense Lawyer
You can be held criminally responsible for traffic violations and reckless driving if you knew that you have a medical condition that can impair your driving. However, this is different from a DWI charge, which must involve drugs or alcohol. A San Antonio DWI defense attorney at the Law Offices of Sam H. Lock can present your medical history to show that there was another explanation for your apparent intoxication. To schedule a free consultation, call 888-726-5625.