Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a serious medical condition that can lead to confusion, dizziness, and even coma. Unfortunately, police officers who are not familiar with the symptoms of DKA can mistake them for intoxication, leading to wrongful DWI arrests.
As a DWI lawyer, it is important to understand the signs and symptoms of DKA and how to defend clients who may have been wrongly accused of driving while intoxicated due to this condition.
What is Diabetic Ketoacidosis?
DKA is a complication that can occur in people with diabetes when their blood sugar levels are consistently high for a prolonged period of time. When the body cannot produce enough insulin, it starts to break down fat for energy instead of glucose, resulting in the production of ketones.
These ketones can build up in the blood and cause the blood to become too acidic, leading to a variety of symptoms such as:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Abdominal pain
- Confusion or disorientation
- Rapid breathing or shortness of breath
- Fruity-smelling breath
- Weakness or fatigue
- Blurred vision
- Dry mouth or excessive thirst
- Frequent urination
Unfortunately, these symptoms can mimic those of intoxication, which can lead to wrongful DWI arrests.
How Can Police Confuse DKA for Intoxication?
Police officers are trained to recognize the signs of intoxication, including slurred speech, impaired motor skills, and altered mental status. However, these symptoms can also be present in individuals experiencing DKA.
For example, the fruity odor on a person's breath can be mistaken for alcohol. Rapid breathing and shortness of breath can be interpreted as nervousness or anxiety, which can be attributed to intoxication. Confusion or disorientation can also be mistaken for being under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Additionally, a breathalyzer test can produce a false-positive result if the person's blood sugar levels are high enough. This is because the breathalyzer measures the level of alcohol in a person's breath, which can be affected by the acetone that is produced when the body is in a state of ketosis.
Defending Clients with DKA
If you have a client who has been wrongly accused of DWI due to DKA, there are several ways to defend their case. First, it is important to educate the court about the symptoms of DKA and how they can be mistaken for intoxication.
Second, it may be necessary to obtain medical records or testimony from a medical expert to prove that the client was experiencing DKA at the time of the arrest. This can help to establish that the client was not actually intoxicated and that the arrest was wrongful.
Finally, it may be possible to challenge the results of a breathalyzer test if the client's blood sugar levels were high enough to produce a false-positive result.
Diabetic ketoacidosis is a serious medical condition that can lead to wrongful DWI arrests if police officers are not familiar with its symptoms. As a DWI lawyer, it is important to understand the signs of DKA and how to defend clients who have been wrongly accused of driving while intoxicated due to this condition.
By educating the court and obtaining medical records or testimony from medical experts, it is possible to successfully defend clients who have been wrongly accused of DWI due to DKA.
Schedule a case consultation with our team today by calling (409) 204-5566 or reaching out online. Se habla español.