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Medical conditions may affect accuracy of DUI tests

On Behalf of | Jan 3, 2016 | Blog

Injuries or medical conditions can cause people a great deal of inconvenience on a daily basis, from not being able to work to having difficulty doing everyday tasks. Is it possible that some medical conditions can cause a North Dakota resident to be falsely accused of driving while intoxicated? Based on numerous examples, this is entirely plausible.

One interesting case that recently made national headlines involved a woman who has a chronic condition that converts food into alcohol. According to CNN, the woman was arrested for drunk driving after a breath test turned up a blood alcohol content of almost .40 percent. Because this level of intoxication can be life-threatening, she was taken to the hospital. However, she was released and subsequently underwent medical testing when she showed no signs of being drunk. She was eventually diagnosed with auto-brewery syndrome, and a judge dismissed her DUI case.

This scenario is unusual, since auto-brewery syndrome is relatively unknown and rare. However, according to ABC Action News, it can be more common for people to face false DUI charges after a field sobriety test, if they have any number of medical conditions. For example, someone with an ear infection or an inner ear problem that affects balance may have trouble passing the test. Someone with an injury or other condition that makes it difficult to stand or walk might perform poorly during a field sobriety test. If a person has a speech impediment or difficulty talking due to a stroke or other conditions, a police officer might mistake it for drunken slurred speech.

Field sobriety tests rely on human judgment and are not known for being accurate. However, some medical conditions show that chemical tests are also not foolproof.


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