Texas DWI Due to Health Problems

Health Problems That Can Affect Your DWI Test Results

In a Texas driving under the influence case, several forms of evidence may be used against you: your behavior and appearance during the initial traffic stop and arrest, your performance on the field sobriety tests, and the results of your breath, blood, or urine test. However, some of this “evidence” involving a Texas DWI may be due to health problems.

Let’s examine the officer’s observations that may be used against you in court. If you exhibit bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, fatigue, or impaired motor coordination, the officer may attribute these signs to intoxication. However, health problems such as allergies or hypoglycemia could result in these symptoms. Your DUI defense attorney can argue that the officer’s suspicions about your sobriety were incorrect.

Field sobriety tests are used to establish probable cause for a drunk-driving arrest. Two of these tests—the walk-and-turn and the one-leg stand—require physical and cognitive abilities that may make passing these tests difficult or even impossible for individuals who are overweight or who have certain physical conditions. The officer may also administer the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, which measures the involuntary jerking of the eye to determine if the driver is under the influence. However, a host of eye, neurological, and physiological conditions may cause a person to fail this test.

Diabetes, hypoglycemia, or even fever are all ailments that could cause you to fail the Texasbreathalyzer test. If you take medication for your condition, it may be detected in a urine or blood test. If the quantity is insufficient to impair your driving ability, your DUI lawyer may file a motion to suppress the chemical test in your case.

If you feel you have been charged with a Texas DUI because of health problems, speak with an attorney who knows the medicine, chemistry, biology, pharmacology, and toxicology associated with a drunk-driving case. Your attorney may call your doctor or a medical expert to the stand to testify that your illness, not alcohol, resulted in your intoxicated driving offense.

Texas DWI & Diabetes

In a Houston DWI case, an officer may make a drunk-driving arrest if the driver exhibits signs such as fatigue, slurred speech, staggering, disorientation, impaired motor control, and poor balance. While these could be signs of intoxication, they are also signs of a condition that many drivers nationwide may have: diabetes. A driver who shows these signs will seem like a drunk driver to the arresting officer and will probably fail any field sobriety tests administered, leading to a DUI arrest.

In addition to producing these symptoms, Texas DUI and diabetes can also make an individual fail the breathalyzer test. The legal blood alcohol content (BAC) for Houston drivers over 21 is .08%. These test results are not always accurate. Without a skilled lawyer who can prove that a condition other than intoxication affected the results, you could be convicted of a crime you did not commit!

Rather than truly measuring alcohol, breathalyzer machines utilize infrared light that absorbs alcohol compounds, such as ethyl alcohol, in your breath. The more light is absorbed, the higher your BAC results. The machine was not designed to analyze the particular type of alcohol in your breath, meaning that acetone can register as alcohol. Diabetic ketoacidosis, which occurs when the body cannot use glucose as a fuel source due to lack of insulin, may produce acetone, leading to inaccurate test results.

If you have been arrested for drunk driving and have diabetes, you should immediately contact an attorney experienced in DUI defense. Your lawyer can work with a medical expert to prove that your breath test results, as well as your appearance and behavior during your traffic stop, were caused by your medical condition. Once your lawyer explains to the court that diabetes contributed to your (unwarranted) DUI arrest, your charges may be dismissed, or you may win your case.

Texas Prescription Medication DWI

Did you know that when mixed with alcohol, certain prescription medications could cause unintended effects? It’s true—even if you only have one or two drinks with prescribed medications and then drive, you could be charged with a Texas prescription medication DUI if the arresting officer believes your vehicle’s ability is impaired.

If you have been charged with DWI in Houston, you should provide your defense lawyer with a list of medications, dosage amounts, and how often you take them. This list should include everything, including medication for high blood pressure, allergies, and birth control. Your Houston lawyer will investigate your medications and how they interact with the consumption of alcohol.

If available, an eyewitness may be called to testify on how much you had to drink before your drunk-driving arrest. If your lawyer can prove to the court that you were impaired by the prescribed medicine and not by alcohol, you could be acquitted of your charges.

In some cases, you could be charged with a DUI Drug offense for driving under the influence of medications or drugs; however, if you were taking prescription medication, you cannot be convicted unless it impaired your ability to drive. Your lawyer can review the police report and video evidence (if available) to determine what led the officer to charge you with drunk driving. If the officer lists signs such as fatigue, flushed face, or bloodshot eyes, these can be attributed to other factors than being impaired.

Jail time, probation, DUI School, community service, fines, and a driver’s license suspension are all possibilities if you are convicted of drunk driving; therefore, contacting a skilled DWI attorney is extremely important. Your attorney can launch an investigation into your case to determine if any medication prescribed by a doctor led to your serious charges. Your attorney may be able to have your charges dismissed or even win your case.

Texas DWI – Ambien and Lunesta

In Texas, alcohol consumption isn’t the only thing that can get you arrested for driving under the influence—you could also be charged if you are impaired by drugs. A DUI Drug charge doesn’t apply only to illegal substances but also to over-the-counter and prescription medication. A Texas DWI involving Ambien and Lunesta have the potential to affect your driving ability seriously, you could face a charge if you operate a vehicle while under their influence.

You may have heard that people who take these medications often engage in activities that they do not remember when they wake up. In fact, there have been cases of people taking these medicines, falling asleep, and then driving. Though this action is involuntary, you could still be arrested for “sleep-driving” under the influence.

The Federal Drug Administration (FDA), recognizing that prescription sleep medications could cause sleep-driving, required manufacturers to put a warning label on the bottle and include a medication guide with the prescription.

Some cases of driving under the influence of Ambien and Lunesta are obviously involuntary—the driver may be wearing pajamas, appear disoriented, and have no idea why he or she is driving. In these cases, a skilled lawyer should be able to fight your DUI charges successfully. However, there are some cases that could be seen as voluntary. For example, consuming alcohol after taking these prescriptions or taking more than the recommended dosage could invalidate the involuntary defense, likewise with taking the medication on the way home in order to give it time to kick in.

Ambien and Lunesta users should use extreme caution before driving a vehicle. If unknowingly engaging in activities is a problem for you, hiding your keys before bedtime may be a good idea.

DWi & Hypoglycemia

Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, can make individuals exhibit symptoms that are very similar to the effects of alcohol. If they are not properly monitored or controlled, diabetes and other medical conditions may lead to this disease. If your blood sugar plummets below normal levels, you could exhibit signs such as impaired coordination, poor balance, staggering, fatigue, disorientation, and slurred speech. Unfortunately, an officer may be unable to distinguish the symptoms of this condition from intoxication, resulting in a Houston DUI arrest involving Hypoglycemia.

These symptoms can also affect your performance on field sobriety tests. For example, the one-leg stand and walk-and-turn tests require balance and coordination, which may be lacking if your blood sugar is low. The officer grades your performance on these tests and can be used against you in court.

Breathalyzers can also be fooled by hypoglycemia. Diabetes and other medical conditions that cause low blood sugar can lead to a state called ketoacidosis. During ketoacidosis, ketones are produced, thus increasing acetone in the breath. Because breathalyzers are designed to detect any compound from the methyl alcohol family, acetones may be confused with ethanol (found in alcoholic beverages), leading to a higher blood alcohol content (BAC) result. If the acetone in your breath produces a BAC of .08% or higher, you can be charged with drunk driving.

If you suffer from hypoglycemia and were arrested for drunk driving, contacting a DUI defense attorney who understands breathalyzer tests is extremely important. Your attorney can explain to the court how your condition produces symptoms similar to intoxication as well as the effect it has on the Texas breath test. He or she may also call in a medical expert to testify on your behalf.

Acid Reflux & DUI/DWI

Breathalyzer machines are designed to measure the deep air from your lungs to measure your blood alcohol content (BAC). If your BAC is .08% or higher, you will be arrested and charged with a Texas driving under the influence (DUI) offense. However, several medical conditions could cause you to exceed the legal limit. DUI acid reflux is one of these conditions.

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), is a condition that forces liquid up into the esophagus. Because acid reflux is often mistaken for indigestion or heartburn, many people are unaware that they have this condition. They may take over-the-counter medication to relieve the symptoms rather than see a doctor to get to the root of the problem.

So how does acid reflux affect the DUI breathalyzer test? As mentioned above, breathalyzers are supposed to measure air from your lungs; however, when you have this condition, alcohol gas is pushed up from the stomach and through your breath. If you had a beer or glass of wine, your BAC might be .03%. If you have this condition, your results may be elevated way over the legal limit.

Some breathalyzer machines come equipped with “slope detectors” that are supposed to determine if the air is coming from the lungs or another source (such as the mouth). If the air comes from the lungs, the breath alcohol should come at a steady rate. If the alcohol level increases suddenly, such as with a belch, the machine knows the air is not from the lungs. The problem with acid reflux is that the alcohol gases are constant, so the slope detector may not detect a problem.

If you recently failed a breathalyzer test and have a history of heartburn, you should contact a defense lawyer specializing in DUI cases. He or she may go over your medical records or even consult with a medical expert to prove that your breath test results are due to your chronic medical condition.

Texas DWI Gingivitis or Periodontal Disease

Breathalyzers are designed to measure the amount of alcohol in your deep lung air; however, the blood alcohol content (BAC) reading may be inaccurate if alcohol from a different source is blown into the machine. For example, if alcohol gets absorbed into food stuck between your teeth, the breathalyzer will measure your mouth alcohol rather than your deep lung air.

Safeguards have been developed to ensure the air being tested is from the lungs. To verify that the machine is reading alcohol from the lungs, the officer may take two breath samples that cannot vary more than .02% from each other. A 15-minute observation period must also be strictly observed to ensure the suspect does not vomit, belch, or consume anything before taking the test.

Some breathalyzers also have a slope detector to ensure the machine is measuring only the deep lung air. If the alcohol reading is consistent throughout the subject is breathing, the detector assumes that only deep lung air is being measured. A sudden spike in the reading will alert the detector that the alcohol came from a different source.

Gingivitis or Periodontal Disease may lead to a Texas DWI false positive by fooling the breathalyzer machines into thinking they are measuring deep lung air. Gingivitis can cause bleeding gums, and periodontal disease causes pockets around the teeth that can trap food and alcohol. Because the alcohol trapped in the mouth remains consistent, it may not be recognized as mouth alcohol by the slope detector. An observation period and duplicate analysis will also miss the trapped mouth alcohol.

If a person with gingivitis or periodontal disease has bleeding gums during the breathalyzer test, the blood may be blown into the chamber with the breath sample. The alcohol in the blood will artificially increase the BAC results.

If you suffer from Gingivitis or Periodontal Disease and were recently arrested for Texas DUI, you should immediately speak with a defense lawyer. Your lawyer may call in a breathalyzer expert or periodontist to explain how your dental condition may have affected the results of your breathalyzer test.

Texas DUI Cough Syrup

An alcoholic beverage isn’t the only thing that can cause a driving under the influence arrest. Some cough syrups contain alcohol and can raise your blood alcohol content (BAC). The court does not care why your BAC level is over the legal limit, so they show little mercy to those who use this to treat an illness. If you are facing Houston DWI charges after using cough syrup, you should immediately speak with an experienced defense lawyer.

If the court finds you guilty of DUI, you could be ordered to serve jail time and probation, pay fines and court costs, attend substance abuse education classes, and perform community service. Your license may also be automatically suspended unless you request a hearing with the Department of Driver Services (DDS). You will also face increased insurance costs and a criminal record that could affect your future.

Drivers under the age of 21 are most at risk of a Texas DUI cough syrup charge. Because of the Texas Zero Tolerance laws, the legal limit for minors is .02%. Even a small amount of this substance may be enough to push an underage driver over the legal limit. The punishment for an Under 21 drunk driving includes a driver’s license suspension as well as community service.

Many other things in addition to cough syrup, can affect the results of the breathalyzer test. For example, the breathalyzer machine assumes that the subject’s body temperature is 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. If your temperature is elevated by just 1.6 degrees Fahrenheit, your BAC result could be increased by 7%. A defense attorney specializing in these types of cases can investigate your breathalyzer test to determine if a fever or other factors impact your reading.

Avoid the risk of a Texas DUI cough syrup charge and connect with our law firm is dedicated to helping those accused of this type of charge.

Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Effexor, Oxycodone, Wellbutrin, Halcion, Lithium

More people than ever are on prescription medications for pain, depression, anxiety, or any number of reasons. Because of the increase in prescriptions, the number of DUI Drug arrests is also increasing. Combining medications such as Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Effexor, Oxycodone, Wellbutrin, Halcion, Lithium, and many others with alcohol can lead to impairment, which may result in a drunk-driving charge.

Alcohol is known to make people relax; coupled with pain medication, SSRIs, or other mood-altering drugs, it can make an individual relax even more. Combining alcohol and medication can result in serious side effects such as blacking out, memory loss, and disorientation. When this happens behind the wheel of a car, the results can be tragic. Many people are unaware of the effects of combining these substances.

The legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit for drivers over 21 is .08%; however, you may be charged with driving under the influence even if your BAC is below this limit if the officer can prove that you were an unsafe driver because of alcohol and prescription medication. Erratic driving, slurred speech, impaired motor coordination, and poor balance are all signs that can be used by the prosecution to prove that you were intoxicated. Thus, even if your BAC is as low as .05%, the prosecution could argue that the combination of alcohol and your medication significantly impaired your driving abilities.

Many Texas law enforcement agencies have a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) on duty. These officers have undergone extensive training to look for the signs of drug use in individuals suspected of DUI. If the DRE believes that you are under the influence of prescription medication, you may be charged with DUI Drugs.

If you were arrested for DUI after combining medication with alcohol, you should immediately contact an attorney who is experienced with these types of cases. When you meet with the attorney, you should prepare a list of the medications you take, the dose, and how often you take them so he or she can launch an investigation into your case.

Leave a Comment