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Do medical issues resemble being drunk?

If you have a medical condition that can make you dizzy, give you panic attacks or otherwise change how you act in a given situation, you may find that you become falsely accused of being drunk. Several medical conditions result in the appearance of being drunk including diabetes, seizures and narcolepsy.

With any medical condition, it's a good idea to have a medical ID bracelet or identification card on you. This helps officers identify when you're having a medical emergency versus driving drunk. In some cases, diabetics may smell like alcohol, so it's particularly important for them to carry medical ID cards for emergencies. Remember, if an officer doesn't know that you're struggling with a medical problem, he or she could take steps to restrain you or take you to jail instead of getting you the medical help you need right away. Alerting him or her to the problem is the first step to avoid trouble.

Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) also give the appearance of being drunk. Dizziness, the inability to focus and even aggression can make you seem like you've had too much to drink. The same is true about many diseases or illnesses that affect the brain including dementia or Alzheimer's disease.

Medical events can cause serious trouble for you, not only physically but also legally. It's a good idea to talk to your attorney about your DUI case and why you believe it was affected by your medical condition. With a doctor's testimony and information about your hospital stay, you may be able to prove that you were not drunk at the time of a crash or traffic stop.

Source: The Healthy Voyager, "Officer, I’m Not Drunk: Diseases and Illnesses That Mimic Intoxication," Caroline Scott-Hamilton, accessed Jan. 10, 2018

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