Question: I can't understand how I got another DUI. I was careful not to drink as much as I usually do and I was careful when I was driving home not to speed or do anything really stupid. But I was driving home from a gentleman's club in Atlanta after a bachelor party when I got stopped in Alpharetta.
I was at my boss' bachelor party and we went to a strip club and I know he hired a couple of high-class Atlanta escorts to meet us there. The escorts were encouraging us to drink and said they had a surprise for us at the end of the night. So after we got a little buzzed they gave us the surprise. And that was that the escorts were actually men; they were dudes from like Vietnam and Thailand. I couldn't believe it. My boss laughed so much he puked!
Then we played some drinking games, but I drank the least of anyone. I thought I'd be alright to drive, not like the time in Florida when I got a DUI and I got into an accident and wrecked my car.
I did those field sobriety tests and I fell down. But I wasn't filthy drunk so I don't k now what happened. I think I might have some disease that makes me fall down. I'd like to use that as a DUI defense. What illnesses make people fall down, or just lose balance?
T.B. Johns Creek, GA
Answer: There are a number of recognized medical conditions that can lead to loss of balance on DUI field sobriety tests. If you can prove that you have a disease or medical condition that causes loss of balance, perhaps that can help your DUI defense. Of course, to prevail you will have to prove that you were diagnosed by a medical doctor. Here is a partial listing of medical issues that can cause loss of balance:
- brain infection
- neuropathy—disease or injury to a nerve
- Friedreich's ataxia—an inherited disease that affects the muscles and heart
- multiple sclerosis—a chronic disease that affects the brain and spinal cord
- brain injury
- head trauma
- cerebral palsy—a group of disorders caused by damage to a child's brain in early development
- spinal injuries
- congenital cerebellar ataxia—an inherited form of ataxia
- Wilson's disease—a rare inherited disorder in which excess copper in the system damages the liver and nervous system
- brain tumor
Even if you can demonstrate that you have been properly diagnosed with one of the diseases listed above, the prosecutors will almost certainly try to introduce other evidence of intoxication, like a breathalyzer or blood test, the odor of alcohol on your breath and incriminating statements by you or others.
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