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Can diabetes affect the results of a sobriety test?

If you have diabetes, and you are pulled over in Grand Forks and charged with drunk driving, you may be able to prove that your field sobriety test or breath test was influenced by your health condition. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, it depends on which test you were administered and the type of diabetic condition you were suffering from at the time.

One of these conditions is hyperglycemia. This condition could lead to a false positive on a breath test due to the fact that your blood sugar level is too high. However, the NHTSA states that this is not a great risk as the amount of acetone in your breath would not be high enough to register on the current equipment being used by law enforcement agencies. That said, it is possible that if you were suffering from hyperglycemia, and your breath had a fruity smell to it, a less experienced officer could mistake it as evidence that you have been drinking alcohol.

The other condition is hypoglycemia. This occurs when your blood sugar level is too low. For example, if you forgot to eat, you took too much insulin or your body is overproducing it then hypoglycemia could result. If you develop hypoglycemia, you could show symptoms that are easy to mistake as signs of inebriation that include the following:

  •          Trouble focusing
  •          Dilated pupils
  •          Combative mood
  •          Dizziness
  •          Lack of coordination

If you were administered a field sobriety test, hypoglycemia could impact the results. However, the NHTSA states that a well-trained officer should be able to see that your breath does not smell of alcohol and that it is unlikely you would fail a breath test. While, this is the statement of one government agency, it is important to remember that this information is only presented as educational in nature. Therefore, it should not be used or interpreted as any form of legal advice or counsel. 

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