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3 conditions that could be confused for alcohol impairment

Last year, we published a blog post about how drowsiness can sometimes look like drunkenness. In that post, which can be read in full here, we noted that driving while drowsy can make a person drive in ways that mimic intoxicated driving, which can prompt an officer to pull that driver over. While it is not illegal to drive while drowsy, the symptoms can make a driver seem drunk and lead to an interaction with police you’d rather avoid.

However, drowsiness is not the only condition with symptoms that can look a lot like intoxication. In this post, we will look at a few other biological responses and health conditions that have nothing to do with being drunk but could give police reason to suspect intoxication once that person is pulled over.

  1. Diabetes: According to this article on LiveStrong.com, diabetes sufferers can experience a condition called ketoacidosis. This condition can make a person’s breath smell like fruity alcohol, even if no alcohol has been ingested.
  2. Ataxia: Ataxia is a genetic disorder that can make it very difficult for a person to balance, as it causes a loss of coordination. It can also cause slurred speech and impaired fine motor skills.
  3. Dry eyes and/or allergies: Dryness can make a person’s eyes look bloodshot and make it necessary to blink more. Seasonal allergies can make the eyes red, itchy and watery, all of which can also happen when a person is intoxicated.

In a situation where your breath, balance and eye movements are being strictly monitored, like a traffic stop for instance, these conditions can lead to some inaccurate assumptions and wrongful arrests. However, they can also give police just enough reason to arrest you or request a search of your car, which can lead to criminal charges if unlawful materials or behaviors are uncovered.

Considering the fact that your freedom and future could be at stake when you are pulled over or arrested for drunk driving, it can be crucial that you understand your right to speak with an attorney to defend yourself if you are facing DUI charges.

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