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How can undiagnosed diabetes mimic driving under the influence?

On Behalf of | Jul 5, 2022 | DUI

It is not unusual for an officer to pull someone over under suspicion of a DUI without the driver being under the influence of any drugs or alcohol. An officer could accuse you of being under the influence during a health emergency related to diabetes, including hypoglycemia.

According to Mayo Clinic, hypoglycemia occurs when the body does not have enough sugar in its blood. Without glucose, you cannot function.

What are the symptoms of hypoglycemia?

You may not know you have diabetes until after you experience the symptoms for some time. When you have low blood sugar, you may appear more pale than usual. You may find yourself sweating more or feeling weak. Hypoglycemia presents with lightheadedness, dizziness and irregular heartbeat.  Every person who experiences a hypoglycemic episode may react differently to it. You can have no symptoms and still have low glucose.

How does hypoglycemia mimic drunkenness?

If an episode occurs behind the wheel, you may find it challenging to complete tasks. For instance, you may forget where you need to go or have difficulty navigating traffic or responding to emergencies. You could lose coordination, drift in and out of your lane, or doze off due to drowsiness. When approached by an officer, patients with low glucose often slur their speech or have difficulty forming words and sentences. Blurred vision can make it challenging to complete the field sobriety test.

Any suspicion of hypoglycemia requires an examination by a doctor before the episodes become too severe. Severe episodes may cause seizures, unconsciousness or convulsions. Those who have multiple episodes of hypoglycemia may have diabetes.

Pennsylvania Drunk Driving Defense: Law, Tactics, and Procedure | by Patrick F. Lauer, Jr. | Revere Legal Publishers