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Can You Be Charged With a DUI for Driving While Diabetic?

Criminal Defense

Approximately 10% of the American population has either Type I or Type II diabetes, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This chronic health condition makes it more difficult, if not impossible, for a person’s body to make enough insulin to keep their blood glucose within normal levels. In addition to the myriad of health problems diabetes causes, signs of uncontrolled blood sugar can often be mistaken for indications of intoxicated driving. Here’s what to know about being charged with driving under the influence when you’re actually just diabetic.

Signs of Intoxication vs. Signs of Low or High Blood Sugar

Let’s take a look at some of the signs of high or low blood sugar compared to the indicators police typically look for when pulling someone over on the suspicion of drunk driving.

People with low blood sugar can experience:

Intense sweating
Slurred speech or sleepiness
Poor balance
Inability to stand upright
Confusion about surroundings
Inability to follow officer instructions
Individuals experiencing an episode of high blood sugar might suffer from dry mouth similar to cannabis intoxication, as well as fatigue, nausea and vomiting, and blurred vision. All of these symptoms and more are signs that police look for when making a DUI stop.

What to Do As a Diabetic Stopped for a DUI

If you are stopped for drinking and driving and are diabetic, show your medical card or other diagnostic information as soon as is practicable. Many diabetics wear emergency alert bracelets or necklaces, or carry a list of medical conditions and medications they take in their wallet. You do not have to speak to officers when you have this information and it’s usually best if you don’t. If asked if you are diabetic, it’s typically okay to answer yes, but you should avoid offering any more information than that. You have the right to decline field sobriety tests, but the officer may ask for a breathalyzer or blood test.

When to Get Help From a DUI Lawyer in Denver

If you were arrested for drunk driving but were really experiencing an imbalance in your blood sugar levels, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side who is familiar with defending clients against drinking and driving charges due to medical conditions. Call Denver, CO Criminal Defense & DUI Lawyer Richard B. Huttner today at 303-981-6366.

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