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Diabetes can mimic drunk driving in emergencies

Medical emergencies can mimic drunk driving, which makes it hard for people to discern the true cause of a driver's behaviors. Sometimes, a driver might seem intoxicated, but the truth is that he or she needs medical help immediately.

One good example of this is a person with diabetes. When a person's blood sugar gets too high or low, the individual may not be able to drive or think coherently. The individual may slur his or her words, become aggressive, have seizures or even smell of alcohol. When blood sugar levels are out of the normal range, a diabetic needs help immediately.

How can you find out if the driver is drunk or suffering from a medical emergency?

The best thing to do is to ask. In some cases, the person may not be able to respond because of the condition, so call 911. If the driver states that he or she is diabetic, find out when he or she last ate. If it has been a long time, the individual may need a snack with carbohydrates to regulate his or her sugar levels. If he or she has a glucagon, it may be necessary to assist him or her in injecting the medication. Try to check the person's blood sugar before the emergency team arrives if possible, since this saves time.

Another thing to look for is a person's medical alert bracelet or medical alert card. The card may be in the individual's wallet, or he or she may have an alert on his or her phone. Checking for any information you can find could help the emergency team treat the driver faster.

If you suffer a medical emergency that mimics drunk driving, like diabetic ketoacidosis or hypoglycemia, you shouldn't face charges for a DUI. The right medical documents can help you get your case dismissed.

Source: American Cop, "DUI Or Diabetic Emergency?," Jason Hoschouer, accessed Oct. 12, 2017

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