Confusing a diabetic emergency with an OUI incident

| Apr 16, 2020 | Firm News |

You’re driving, and you don’t feel well. Your body starts to shake. You’re eager to get home because you know what’s happening.

You’re a diabetic, and you’re experiencing a period of either extremely high or extremely low blood sugar. Your glucose meter will tell you which way to treat this emergency.

Then you see the lights from the police car behind you. You pull over. The officer suspects you’ve been drinking because your car was swerving.

That’s because a person experiencing a diabetic emergency can mimic someone who has had too much to drink. A person whose blood sugar is way off can become combative or could have breath that smells like alcohol, too. Along the side of the road, it can be easy to confuse someone who is suffering from the effects of diabetes with someone who is operating a vehicle under the influence.

So, what happens if you are put in the back of the police car because you’re suspected of OUI?

Well, you could be in medical peril without access to your insulin to reduce your blood sugar or glucose tablets to increase it. You could need emergency medical care instead of time in a jail cell.

If you are able to respond to the officer, state you are a diabetic and add that your condition could negatively impact a breath test and create a false positive. Put that on record as a start to your defense.

If you have a medical alert bracelet or necklace identifying you as a diabetic, show it to the officer. If you’re carrying your insulin with you, or if you’re wearing an insulin pump, let the officer see that, too.

Law-enforcement officers in Massachusetts have a duty to keep the roads safe from drunk drivers, but sometimes they can error in pulling someone over for a suspected OUI. If you have a diabetic emergency but instead are cited for an OUI, you should seek legal representation to assist with your case.