Question: I really don't drink or do drugs. But an Atlanta police officer said that I was either drunk or on drugs and he gave me a DUI. I got arrested for DUI two nights ago on Peachtree Street.
I was driving home from dinner in Atlanta and I was having a serious allergy attack. I'm allergic to different things and I can have some issues but this one was really bad. I think it was my nut allergy. I had cramps, difficulty swallowing and my breathing was tough; I thought I was growing to get sick. The cop stopped me because he said I went through a red light.
I really couldn't talk well and he thought that I was either drunk or on some drug. I didn't do any physical tests and I didn't take the breath test or a blood test. But I'm sure I look awful on the video. But that's only because of the allergic reaction, not from booze.
Have you ever handled a DUI case where someone had an allergic reaction? I need some help explaining this to a judge and the prosecutors in Atlanta.
H.K. in Atlanta
Answer: We have handled DUI cases for clients who were charged simply because of an allergic reaction. That allergic reaction can be caused by many things, including nuts, seafood, milk, dairy and eggs.
Many times food allergy symptoms can appear to a police officer to be from alcohol intoxication or the use of drugs. We advise clients to bring us documentation of the allergy from a doctor and, when possible, a copy of a bill from a restaurant, bar or club that shows a food that could cause an allergic reaction by that person.
We have gotten affidavits from restaurants that state that our client was served (sometimes mistakenly) a food product that can cause an allergic reaction.
We had a client who had a severe reaction to his food, which was cooked in peanut oil. Assuming there is no breath test or blood test showing alcohol impairment or drug usage, we have had good outcomes with those cases.
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