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Medical Conditions That Can Affect a DUI Case in DC

Explore how medical conditions can influence DUI cases in DC. Scrofano Law PC provides expert insights on legal defenses and implications in such scenarios.

Understanding the Medical Conditions That Can Impact DUI Cases

If you or a loved one is facing a DUI charge, it’s essential to consider how specific medical conditions might influence your case. Understanding the potential impact of certain medical conditions on blood alcohol concentration is crucial, as it could lead to wrongful DUI arrests.

You don’t have to be convicted unjustly for an offense you are innocent of. Hiring an experienced DUI attorney can save you a lot of trouble and prevent you from being wrongly charged for a DUI offense. They can help you analyze your DUI case, consider the circumstances surrounding your arrest, and represent you at trials.

At Scrofano Law PC, our DUI attorneys are willing to give you the necessary guidance and assistance in your DUI case, as well as build strong defense strategies for you during the trial. A conviction for DUI can have a significant on your criminal record. So, it will benefit you to contact DUI lawyers immediately after you are arrested for DUI.

In this article, our attorneys will help you understand what medical conditions can affect your DUI case in DC.

Common Medical Conditions That Affect DUI Cases

Several medical conditions can mimic impairment or intoxication and lead to false arrests or provide defenses to DUI cases. The common medical conditions that could affect your DUI case include the following:


Concussion refers to a traumatic brain injury or head injury that affects how the brain functions. Suppose a person experiences a vehicle collision as a result and suffers a concussion; a police officer may suspect them of drunk driving. The reason for this false suspicion is that the symptoms of concussion can be mistaken for the symptoms of being under the influence of alcohol consumption.

Some of these symptoms, which include slurred speech, difficulty keeping balance, and short-term memory loss, can be mistaken for alcohol intoxication. When a police officer does not allow a person involved in a vehicle collision to get immediate medical attention and makes them take field sobriety tests, they may show signs of intoxication, which are not caused by alcohol consumption.

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) occurs when stomach acid flows back into the esophagus, resulting in symptoms like heartburn. In the context of a DUI case, GERD can be significant. For instance, during episodes of acid reflux, stomach contents may reach the esophagus or mouth, potentially influencing breathalyzer results by introducing stomach alcohol into these areas.

Even though the stomach alcohol is not absorbed into your bloodstream, the reading of a breathalyzer or breath test machine during a field sobriety test can be affected by its presence in the esophagus or mouth. When a breathalyzer detects alcohol in your bloodstream, you may be considered impaired and can be arrested.

Heart Conditions

People with heart conditions may show symptoms such as breathing difficulty, coordination problems, excessive sweating, and a drop in blood pressure, which are similar to those of intoxication. Police officers, when they notice these symptoms and are not aware of this medical condition, can wrongly arrest you for DUI.


This is a medical condition that can put you at risk of facing unfair charges for DUI. Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are incurable diseases that happen when the pancreas cannot produce insulin, which is required to regulate blood sugar levels.

A person with diabetes can either have hyperglycemia (high blood glucose levels) or hypoglycemia (low blood glucose levels). A person having hyperglycemia can show several symptoms that can easily be mistaken as impairment from alcohol by a police officer.

Symptoms of hypoglycemia, such as slurred speech, blurred vision, lightheadedness, shaking, and delayed reflexes, can also be mistaken for effects of intoxication. Police officers can wrongly suspect and arrest you for DUI when they notice these symptoms.

It is also important to note that you can be charged with DUI because of hypoglycemia, even if you don’t have diabetes. Although hypoglycemia mainly affects people with diabetes, it can occur in non-diabetics as well. Those who do not have diabetes, especially those on a low-carb diet like the ketogenic diet, may display hypoglycemia symptoms, which are mistaken for intoxication. Those on low-carb diets may experience ketosis, which can result in false positives on a DUI breathalyzer test.

For hyperglycemia patients, their bodies burn fats instead of carbohydrates for energy, which causes a build-up of ketones in the bloodstream and leads to a distinct foul breath odor that can be misconstrued as alcohol. Hyperglycemic often experience labored breathing, thirst, drowsiness, and rapid heartbeat, which can mislead a police officer into performing DUI breath tests on them.

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is also a medical condition that can impact a DUI case. People with sleep apnea can stop breathing throughout the night due to obstruction of their airways, which is occasioned by the relaxation of their throat muscles.

Due to this obstruction, their blood accumulates carbon dioxide, which makes them disoriented, dizzy, or intoxicated when they wake up, even though they are sober. People with sleep apnea may also risk insulin reactions when they have not eaten for several hours.

If you have sleep apnea and you are arrested for drinking under the influence, you may have a viable defense in your DUI case.

Scrofano Law PC Can Help You Effectively

You can attack the results of standardized field sobriety tests or challenge DUI arrest when you have a medical condition that can significantly impact your DUI case. It would be best if you contact DUI lawyers immediately after you are stopped and arrested for DUI. Lawyers experienced in handling DUI cases can quickly detect possible errors in your DUI arrest.

When charged with DUI, prosecutors must prove you are guilty of the alleged offense beyond reasonable doubt. At Scrofano Law PC, our experienced DUI lawyers can help you analyze the event of your DUI arrest, discover the flaws in your DUI, and represent you effectively in your trial. Our client-centric approach drives us to secure the best possible outcome for our clients.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation.


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