DUI, Autism and Echolalia

Posted by William H. Sherman on Sep 07, 2014 | 0 Comments

Question: Our daughter was arrested for DUI in Dunwoody about one week ago.  Since is autistic and she does not drink much at all.  Because of her autism a police officer could very easily think she was drunk or on drugs.  But she does not use drugs or drink heavily.

She was driving home from the doctor in the afternoon and she was pulled over by a Dunwoody police officer for speeding.  She was on her way home to Sandy Springs.  I think she became confused and appeared to the police officer to be DUI.  She often repeats the same phrases over and over again.  It's a condition called echolalia which some people with autism have.  So when the officer asked her questions I think she just repeated them back to the officer.

Although she really doesn't drink I think she may have had a drink on the way home.  She will sometimes buy a light beer, drink it and drive home.  But it's usually just one beer.  It's not enough for her to get drunk.  It should not be enough for DUI.

What should we do?

Answer: We are very familiar with echolalia, the repetition of words, and how that can effect a DUI charge.  We have written about autism and DUI recently, in fact.  Sometimes people with autism and other neurological disorders are seen as being under the influence of alcohol or drugs because of their actions and speech.

This can be rebutted by a DUI lawyer.  The lawyer can, among other things, show a prosecutor or a jury a diagnosis of autism or have a doctor testify as to the symptoms.

We need some more information before rendering an opinion as to how best to defend this DUI.  Questions we have include:  Did she take the field sobriety tests?  How did she look on those tests?  Did she take a blood, breath or urine test, and what were the results?

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About the Author

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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