If you have been arrested on a charge of driving under the influence (DUI), your health can have a big effect on the outcome of the tests taken to see if you are drunk. You could even be charged for DUI because of a pre existing health problem you had, or medicines you were taking at the time you were arrested and not because you had been drinking. You shouldn’t give in to these sorts of errors. You need the help of a DUI lawyer to fight the charges against you and clear your name.
Your health can affect everything about the way law enforcement offices decide if you are DUI. This can start as soon as you are pulled over by a police officer. If you are pulled over on suspicion of DUI, the police officer will ask you to complete a set of physical tests called field sobriety tests. Before this happens, he or she may also smell your breath and look at the state of your eyes. You could be giving off an odor which the officer thinks is alcohol, when in fact it has been caused by medicine you have taken, like cough medicine or a health condition like diabetes. You may perform badly on the sobriety tests simply because of ill health, tiredness or nervousness. If you think your health could affect these tests it is better to refuse to do them and explain why when you do.
If the police officer takes you back to a police station you will be asked to take a blood alcohol content (BAC) test. There are different types, but the most common one used in Florida is the breath test. There are many well known errors with all of these chemical tests, which have nothing to do with your health. But if you have an existing health problem, it could exaggerate your BAC reading, or put you over the legal limit of 0.08%, even if you had not drunk any alcohol at all. If you have a health problem, or have been taking drugs or medicine that could affect the result you should point this out at the time the test is taken.
The main problem with the breath and blood tests is that they don’t actually measure alcohol directly at all, but measure anything that is chemically similar. That means you could be breathing out something that has been caused by an illness or a solvent for a medicine and the test machine would not know the difference.
Drugs for heart disease, cholesterol, blood thinning as well as cough medicines can all mimic or produce higher than normal BAC readings.
Anything that causes you to release stomach acid into your mouth like GERD, heartburn, burping, belching or regurgitation can also cause a false reading as the breathalyzer cannot tell the difference between this and alcohol that has come from drinking. 20% of U.S. drivers are diabetics and when their glucose levels are low, they can release chemicals in their mouth (ketones) which cause a high BAC reading.
Don’t expect the law enforcement in Florida to take much notice of you, if you tell them of any health or medical issues. They are determined to get a conviction, as it raises their profile. You will need to have a solid defense against any DUI charge if you are to get off.
A good DUI lawyer knows how health issues can lead to you being falsely charged for DUI and will be able to use this to your advantage. He or she can successfully fight your case in court and get your DUI charge dropped, or at least reduced or minimized. A DUI conviction might haunt you for the rest of your life. Fight your charge with a DUI lawyer.