Being pulled over for a DWI or DUI in Louisiana is no fun and games, yet police stop and arrest many who have not even touched a drop of alcohol and gotten behind the wheel when the only thing they are guilty of is having a medical condition. Some may find themselves facing DWI charges after having had just one or two drinks at dinner hours earlier. Many conditions can mimic the effects of alcohol at inopportune times, which is why it’s so important to work with a sharp DUI attorney with a keen understanding of breath test procedures to defend your case.
About 15-20% of drivers on the road at any given time have diabetes. Diabetes affects the breakdown of glucose, or sugar, in the body. Hypoglycemia, or abnormally low levels of blood sugar in the body, can often stem from diabetes treatment. When a person with diabetes enters a low blood sugar episode, he or she may experience many symptoms that are similar to signs police use to identify a drunk driver. These include dizziness, blurred vision, slurred speech, weakness, loss of coordination, confusion, anxiety, and even a slight smell of alcohol on the breath.
Without taking the time to consider whether or not the driver is indeed under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the officer often arrests the suspect after failed roadside sobriety tests. At the station, the DUI suspect must then blow on into the Intoxilyzer 5000, the state-approved breath test device that produces results allowed as evidence in court. Even this test will fail to differentiate between diabetes and intoxication, as the machine relies on infrared light absorption to detect chemical compounds that contain the “methyl” group in their molecular structure. One such compound is acetone. Diabetes patients suffering from hypoglycemia produce acetones in their breath when they enter ketoacidosis, a serious complication where the body produces excess blood acids.
Heartburn, Acid Reflux, and GERD
Heartburn, acid reflux, and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) are all conditions that can lead to inaccurate blood alcohol content tests. These medical conditions can mislead the machine that takes the test. If you are pulled over for DUI and have had a few drinks earlier, but nowhere near the amount necessary to place you over the limit, having one of these medical conditions can cause the test to detect a much higher level of alcohol than is actually present. This is due to a phenomenon called mouth alcohol in which some of the alcohol in your stomach can come back up the esophagus, leading to a falsely high positive test result.
When you face DWI/ DUI charges in Louisiana, you need tough legal representation. Attorney Eric G. Johnson thoroughly investigates each case to ensure you get the best results possible. For over 24 years, Eric has dedicated his legal career to criminal defense. Call The John D. & Eric G. Johnson Law Firm at 318-479-0562 or contact us online for a free consultation.