Drunk driving allegations can wreak havoc on your life. Mere allegations can damage your reputation, but an actual conviction can threaten you with jail time, license suspension and collateral consequences such as job loss. With so much on the line, you owe it to yourself to put forth the strongest criminal defense you can. While we’ve discussed some of those options in the blog, such as suppressing evidence, you also can’t overlook the possibility that the police simply misinterpreted the situation preceding your arrest.
After all, we’re all human. Even law enforcement officers. That means that even the police can make a mistake that puts you at risk of being charged with a criminal offense. This is sometimes the case when an officer who pulls you over inadvertently associates symptoms of a medical condition with intoxication. When this happens, though, you might have a strong criminal defense argument to try to avoid the harsh penalties that might otherwise be thrust upon you.
Medical conditions that can be confused for intoxication
The list of medical conditions that can be confused for intoxication is longer than many people think. So, if you have one of these medical diagnoses and have been accused of drunk driving, you might want to consider if you can use your condition to your advantage in your criminal case:
- Diabetes: This medical condition can leave you confused and disoriented, and your coordination can be thrown off. You might even suffer from slurred speech. To an officer, this might look like you’ve had too much to drink, and your decreased blood sugar levels may cause you to fail a field sobriety test.
- Sleep apnea: This medical condition causes breathing disruptions during sleep. As a result, you can find yourself overly fatigued, and a buildup of carbon dioxide in your blood can leave you feeling dizzy and disoriented.
- Heart issues: Those who suffer from heart conditions can lack coordination and may sweat profusely. It’s easy for a police officer to assume that these issues are indicative of intoxication, but you shouldn’t let those perceptions lead to a wrongful drunk driving conviction.
- Epilepsy: This condition causes you to have seizure, which can cause a car accident if you’re behind the wheel when one occurs. When the police respond, you may be unconscious, disoriented, and confused. You may be unable to recount the events that led up to the accident, too, which raises red flags for law enforcement.
- Prescription medication use: If you have a medical condition that requires you to take medication, you may be subjected to unexpected side effects that negatively impact your driving abilities. If you’re subsequently pulled over, you might struggle to perform when a field sobriety test is administered.
If you’ve been accused of drunk driving and suspect that your medical condition played a role in your arrest, you should gather evidence that demonstrates your condition and its impact on your ability to function. This might include gathering medical records, recording other adverse events and talking to your medical professional to learn more about how your condition affects you.
Facing your DUI charges head on
A lot of DUI cases result in plea deals. While that might be an option in your case, you shouldn’t accept any sort of guilt until you’ve fully vetted all of your criminal defense options. This includes analyzing your medical condition and how it might be used to your advantage in your case. If you’d like to learn more about how to do that in your case, please consider reaching out to a firm like ours for more information.