Some diseases can make you appear drunk

Posted by William H. Sherman on Jan 31, 2016 | 0 Comments

Question: First of all, I barely ever drink.  When I do, I usually have something like a half a beer. I have never been a big drinker, even in my college days. So the other afternoon I got sopped by a Gwinnett County police officer and I got arrested for DUI. I really had about a half of a beer. But since I have epilepsy and I was having issues from it when I got stopped, the cop thought I was drunk.

He thought I was drunk because I fell down, I was having problems speaking and I was sweating. Again, I only had half of a beer so I couldn't have been drunk, but because of my epilepsy it seemed like I was blasted.

The Gwinnett cop made me stop because he says I went through a “stop sign” without stopping and he says he saw me do it. I was totally cooperative with the officer's request and took all of the field sobriety tests, but I didn't take a breath test. I've heard that I shouldn't take a breath test. My friend who's married to a cop told me that.

Maybe I should have taken the breath test, because I know I looked terrible doing those roadside tests.

What should I do now?

S.S. in Lawrenceville, GA

Answer: Many illnesses can make someone seem drunk or intoxicated when, in fact, they are not. Sometimes when someone is exhibiting symptoms of these disorders, the person can appear very inebriated even when they are completely sober, and that can cause serious problems on the field sobriety tests, which are often videotaped. Here are some diseases or conditions that can make it appear as if an individual is drunk:

  • Diabetes
  • Epilepsy
  • Brain injury
  • Alzheimer's

These conditions can cause:

  • Dizziness
  • Lack of balance
  • Falling down
  • Unresponsiveness
  • Sweating
  • Problems speaking
  • Appearing aggressive or angry
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Inability to perform a sequence of complex movements
  • Inability to focus on tasks
  •  Slurred speech

If someone is arrested for DUI and has a diagnosed medical condition that can cause them to appear drunk, it is vital that they tell their DUI attorney of the diagnosis. It may be very helpful for their defense.

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William H. Sherman

With a professional background that includes serving as a Senior Assistant County Attorney and as an Assistant Attorney General, attorney William H. Sherman has great experience, a broad range of legal knowledge and a proven record of success.  Each of Mr. Sherman's clients gets the full benefit of his experience.  Because attorney Sherman has worked for governmental organizations, large corporations and clerked for a judge, he has handled a wide variety of cases from negotiation and trial to successful appeal. Mr. Sherman is very proud of his reputation as a problem-solver who is always available to his clients.  Active in the community, Mr. Sherman and his wife, attorney Valerie Sherman, support many community organizations, sports teams and charities.  Call him now and let his experience work for you.

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