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Everything You Must Know about Wrongful DUI Arrests of Diabetics

If anyone you know has diabetes and was recently arrested by the police for driving under the influence, you must consult a lawyer right away. That’s because there are high possibilities that the law enforcement department has wrongfully arrested the person.

When a police officer stops a driver due to their erratic driving, the first thing they do is suspect that the latter might be drunk. To confirm their suspicion, they will carry out a sobriety test.

The most common test done in these circumstances is PBT or preliminary breath test. The test allows police officers to measure the breath alcohol content or BAC of the suspect. If the results of the driver’s PBT are more than the legally permissible level, the officer would arrest the driver.

The police should handle the situation differently if the driver is a diabetic. Read on to know more.

The Symptoms of Hypoglycemia Are Often Similar to Those of Intoxication 

Diabetes, a condition marked by elevated blood sugar levels, when treated with drugs and insulin shots for a long time, might make patients hypoglycemic. In other words, the patients may suddenly experience a drop in their blood sugar levels. The symptoms of hypoglycemia have significant similarities with those of intoxication.

Some common signs of the two conditions include a flushed face, slurred/slow speech, balance issues, drowsiness, impaired coordination, distracted and disoriented behavior, etc. As a result, police officers often confuse the effects of hypoglycemia with signs of intoxication and end up arresting the driver wrongfully.

Field Sobriety Tasks and Diabetics 

When a police officer assumes that a driver might be driving under the influence, the latter needs to undergo a series of FSTs or field coordination tasks. The tasks tend to vary depending on the experience and training of the concerned police officer. Most officers use three different tests to determine various indicators of loss of coordination. The three tests are as follows:

  • HGN or horizontal gaze nystagmus
  • WAT or walk and turn
  • OLS or one-leg stand

However, before making the driver undergo the above tests, the police officer must ask them whether they are suffering from any medical disorder. If the driver is a diabetic, they should immediately notify the officer about it and inform them about the medications they take. The driver must also inform the officer about all other chronic conditions they have.

Diabetes May Cause Erroneous BAC Results 

Alcoholic beverages contain an organic compound called ethanol. Breath testing tools work by gauging the quantity of ethanol.

Diabetics with hypoglycemia often develop a condition of ketoacidosis, which results in the production of acetones in their oral cavity. The breath testing tools can not only identify ethanol in the suspect’s blood but can also detect other chemicals belonging to the methyl group. Acetone is also a member of the methyl group, and thus, the breath analyzers often assume it as ethanol.

Final Words

Such findings of breath analyzing tests often result in wrongful arrests of diabetic drivers. A drunk driving attorney in Knoxville, TN is the best person to bail you or anyone you love out of such situations.

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