Diabetes: A medical condition that can lead to DWI charges

On Behalf of | Jul 29, 2022 | DWI

It’s easy to assume that anyone who’s showing signs of being drunk is actually impaired, but there’s sometimes another reason for the behaviors. People who are having a diabetic crisis often have behavior that mimics that of a drunk person. 

Nearly 29 million people in this country have been diagnosed with diabetes. While many of these won’t ever experience such a major shift in their glucose levels that it impacts their mental status, some will experience hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia that leads to them behaving out of character. 

How can a diabetic crisis mimic impaired driving?

One of the most profound symptoms of a diabetic crisis, whether the person has blood sugar that’s too high or too low, is confusion. This makes it nearly impossible for the person to safely operate a vehicle. It can cause them to swerve and miss traffic control signs and devices. Police officers may see these behaviors and assume the person is impaired by drugs or alcohol. 

When an officer stops a person who’s in a diabetic crisis, they may encounter someone who’s combative, which also mimics the behavior of a highly intoxicated individual. Officers who are trying to find out what’s going on might also be met with a deceptive situation that appears like the person is DWI, but it’s actually something else that doesn’t have anything to do with alcohol. 

If the person is hyperglycemic, there’s a chance that they will have breath that smells similar to alcohol, even if they haven’t been drinking. This is a sign of diabetic ketoacidosis, which is a condition that requires immediate medical care. 

Anyone who’s been charged with DWI in Texas must ensure they understand their rights and what options they have. These charges can come with some serious penalties, so you shouldn’t ignore them. Instead, work closely with someone who’s familiar with the local courts and how they handle DWI cases. This enables you to find out what you need to know so you can make informed decisions. 

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