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Yes, diabetes does mimic intoxication

Did you know that there are medical conditions that mimic intoxication? Unfortunately, if you have a medical emergency caused by one of these conditions, you could end up being accused of being impaired when you actually need medical attention.

One of the conditions that has the potential to cause problems is diabetes. When your blood sugar is too high for too long, the body may release ketones. Your breath may smell like alcohol, and you may be accused of being impaired when you’re actually dealing with a high level of sugar in your blood.

What are the signs of diabetes that mimic intoxication?

Diabetes has a few symptoms that overlap with alcohol or drug intoxication. Some of these symptoms may include:

  • Staggering
  • Becoming combative
  • Being confused or disoriented
  • Losing consciousness
  • Slurring your words
  • Smelling of alcohol
  • Seizures

If you have this disease, it is absolutely essential to take steps to let the officer who has pulled you over know that you’re having a medical emergency and need help.

Some of the ways you can do so include:

  • Showing a medical bracelet to the officer
  • Carrying a medical alert card in your wallet
  • Expressing that you are having a medical emergency
  • Asking them to call 911 or the emergency medical service (EMS) to the scene

If you are impaired while driving, you can face repercussions even if that impairment isn’t caused by alcohol. That being said, ketoacidosis, hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia are all dangerous conditions that should be treated as soon as possible. It’s important to make the officer aware that you have a medical condition so that you can get the help you need during that emergency.

Will you face DUI charges from diabetes?

It’s unlikely that a DUI charge will remain if you can show that you were having a medical emergency. However, it is possible that other charges could be pressed, such as charges for reckless driving. It’s a good idea to look into defensive options so that you can make sure you don’t end up with an unfair DUI on your record if your traffic stop was a result of diabetes.


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