Yes. There are a number of medical conditions which can actually affect the result of a breathalyzer test. Acid Reflux is commonly discussed because it means acid from the person’s stomach comes up into their throat. That acid might have alcohol in it, so when the person blows into the breathalyzer, the alcohol would enter the device and show a much higher concentration than it would have from a normal breath and it would score the test much higher than it actually should be. It would make it seem like they had a really high BAC when they actually might not. There are a lot of other conditions that can affect a DUI charge, like conditions which affect balance or performance on field sobriety tests – everything from sleep apnea to acid reflux to diabetes. Some conditions can affect the way the investigation for DUI proceeds, so I always ask my clients about that and have a questionnaire for them to fill out if they have any such problems. This is something a good attorney should be on top of, so be prepared to talk about those issues with an attorney.
Should The Person Mention Back Or Knee Injuries?
Yes, because these kinds of injuries are pretty common. A lot of field sobriety tests require balance, so someone with a foot, back or knee problem would not be able to perform very well on those tests; it would not have anything to do with the person being intoxicated, but rather the fact they could not balance their body the right way. It would help the case if that were brought out and explained in front of a judge or in front of a jury.
Could Someone Prepare By Getting Medical Documents From Doctors?
Yes, it would be a good idea to have medical conditions documented. I like having some sort of documentation of that when I talk to the prosecutor, because it would make the prosecutor aware that the issues can be proven, so they would take that claim a lot more seriously and the person might get a better offer or a plea bargain as a result of it. If not, then the documentation would be ready for the trial if needed.
Would It Be A Tough Battle Even For A Situation Involving Prescription Medication?
Yes. In some ways prescription medications are even harder to defend, but every case is different. The main reason it would be a tough battle would be because of the cultural attitude toward DUIs, everywhere and particularly in Utah. DUIs are really frowned upon, and as a result are attacked politically. They are vilified and police officers come down hard on someone for a DUI. Prosecutors would not want to look like they were going soft on that kind of thing, so they do not offer a good plea offer unless the person has a very strong case. Judges are required to offer a harsh minimum sentence because the legislature mandated this to make themselves look good politically. People want to combat that behavior and they want to come down on it hard, so it would surely be a tough uphill battle for those reasons.
For more information on Medical Conditions In DUI, a free initial consultation is your best next step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by calling (801) 441-2013 today.