In this video, we’ll take a look at whether or not diabetics can really get a DUI without even taking a sip. We’ll discuss the effects of diabetes on the body and how it affects driving.
Whether you’re a diabetic or not, I think you’ll find this video interesting! We’ll discuss how diabetes can affect your driving ability and how to avoid getting a DUI. As always, if you have any questions or comments, feel free to let me know!
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Hi, everyone. Did you know being diabetic can actually get you charged with a DUI when you’re not guilty? This is Christina Williams with Just Criminal Law.
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And this is David Mann, legal storytelling specialist. These kinds of stories always really interest me, Christina, because I’m you know, this is like an unexpected result. Someone is diabetic and they can actually end up with getting charged with a DUI. How would that how would that happen?
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Well, imagine you are driving. Your blood sugar is low. You get stopped and the law enforcement officer that comes to your window smells something that’s kind of similar to the odor of alcohol but it’s not because you’ve been drinking or maybe you have been drinking, but it’s not solely because of that odor of alcohol. It’s actually odor that diabetics will emit from their breath in certain circumstances, depending on their blood sugar levels. So it’ll start a DUI investigation.
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Wow. So that’s really a big that’s potentially a really big problem. So the officer is smelling something that smells just like alcohol, but it’s because of body chemistry being different. And then what can happen?
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Well, you know, it’s just your typical, “Have you been drinking tonight?” And maybe you even have been drinking if you’re diabetic and you know, but you haven’t had enough to be over the legal limit the officers then going to ask you to step outside of the vehicle and do some field sobriety tests to make your make sure you’re safe to drive.
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Okay. So that’s if you’re if people are listening to our other videos, that’s where you shouldn’t do that. But but say you do say like a lot of people, you don’t know that, you know, there’s another way and you get out and you’re doing this field sobriety test. And what I know of diabetics is it has to do with blood sugar. So now you’re doing a field sobriety test with low blood sugar, right?
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Right. And so you’re going to maybe be a little bit more confused than you would if your blood sugar was right. You’re going to perform poorly on the physical maneuvers. You know, you’re not going to be the best version of yourself and you’re going to be asked to do these maneuvers to make sure you’re safe to drive.
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Yeah, I mean, just even someone who’s not diabetic knows what it feels like to be kind of groggy, like you haven’t had enough to eat and you know, and the field sobriety test is all about coordination and motor control and things that are directly affected by that. So I can imagine you’d all of a sudden get, you know, failing this test. So then at that point, if that happens and you don’t know this is happening, maybe because you’re a diabetic, it’s just happening and now you’re in the squad car and you’re going back to the station and now what happens?
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You will be asked to perform a breath test. And in consenting to this breath test, you’re going to blow into a machine that you assume is going to give an accurate result. However, if you’re diabetic, that’s not necessarily the case.
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Right? Because your blood is different. And and if I understand it right, the breathalyzer is evaluating the alcohol content that’s in your lungs because of what’s in your blood. And now it’s all messed up. So maybe you have had a couple of drinks, but it’s not maybe enough. And what happens now?
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Well, right. So when you’re diabetic and your your body doesn’t have the blood sugar to go to. It’s going to start breaking down fat. And in that process, your body will emit ketones. And these ketones are similar to the molecular structure of alcohol that you drink. So when you’re blowing into the machine, it can’t tell the difference between what’s present in your breath because of your blood alcohol concentration and what’s present in your breath because of the ketones as a result of being diabetic. So you’re going to get an unreliable result.
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So you’ve seen this before, right? You’ve seen results be way wide of the mark of where they should be.
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Right. And when it comes down to it the state has to prove their case. They have to prove that that alcohol reading that their machine is giving to us is a result of blood alcohol in your system because you consumed alcohol and you’re unsafe to drive. Not because you’re diabetic and you have ketones in your blood.
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Wow. And this happens now with the breath test, not the blood test. Right?
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Right. This this wouldn’t be a problem if the state had a blood test instead of a breath test for the diabetic.
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Well, I bet you there are people where they didn’t even know that this was the reason that they’re getting, you know, convicted of a DUI. But they should at this point be calling you. Right. So how would they do that?
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