When experience matters, don’t leave your future to chance.

Photo of Professionals at JMG, PLLC
Photo of Professionals at JMG, PLLC

When experience matters, don’t leave your future to chance.

4 medical issues that can be mistaken for intoxication

On Behalf of | Apr 5, 2024 | DUI |

Intoxication isn’t always what it seems. While a driver’s slurred speech, confusion and impaired coordination are often attributed to alcohol or drug use, there’s a range of medical conditions that can mimic the symptoms of intoxication.

Unfortunately, a police officer’s “hot take” on the situation can lead to an erroneous arrest and charges of driving under the influence (DUI). Here are four medical issues that can easily mimic intoxication:

1. Diabetes

Diabetes is a disorder that tends to sneak up on people – until it becomes a crisis. Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, can cause someone to develop slurred speech, become confused and even behave erratically or aggressively. Hyperglycemia can cause them to become equally confused and even lose consciousness.

2. Allergic rhinitis

Spring is an allergy sufferer’s nightmare, but most don’t realize that untreated allergies can actually increase the chances that they’ll end up in a car accident. In many cases, a driver’s “allergy eyes” and general impaired performance can make them seem drugged or drunk to a police officer.  

3. Ear infections

Inner ear infections can affect a driver’s coordination and balance – and that can make them appear drunk to an officer. An ear infection can also make it impossible for a driver to successfully complete standardized roadside sobriety tests, like the walk-and-turn test, simply because they’re unable to balance or hold their eyes steady.

4. Fatigue

Bloodshot eyes, slurred speech and stumbling around might be the hallmarks of intoxication – but it can also indicate pure exhaustion. Convincing an officer that you’re merely fatigued, however, might be impossible.

If you’ve been charged with a DUI due to a hidden medical condition, it would be wisest to explore all of your defense options. You shouldn’t have to pay the price for something you couldn’t control.