Police officers watch for signs that a driver has ingested too many drinks before getting behind the wheel. Symptoms including slurred speech and bloodshot eyes can show an inebriated state. However, you could also exhibit these symptoms without having consumed any alcoholic beverages.
Several medical conditions sometimes mimic the signs of intoxication. These symptoms may manifest during a conversation with a police officer. One of several health problems might be the culprit.
Traumatic brain injuries
Usually resulting from an accident or fall, a brain injury can produce symptoms that imitate a high blood alcohol level. Confusion, slurred speech, impaired coordination and altered consciousness are all signs of a TBI. Since this kind of injury can threaten your life, you should seek medical attention if you feel you suffer from a traumatic brain injury.
Various neurological conditions may appear to manifest as intoxication. Multiple sclerosis can cause unsteady gait and dizziness that resemble drunkenness. Similarly, Parkinson’s Disease creates tremors and muscle rigidity which could imitate the effects of alcohol. According to Parkinson’s Foundation, nearly one million American adults suffer from this disease as of 2023, so it is a special concern for a number of people who drive.
Hypoglycemia sometimes produces symptoms that mimic drunkenness. Individuals with diabetes may experience confusion, slurred speech, shakiness and erratic behavior during episodes of low blood sugar. This is why people with diabetes carry appropriate supplies to address hypoglycemia, which may show a police officer that you suffer from this condition.
It is also possible to mistake epileptic seizures for intoxication. About 1.2% of people in the United States have an active form of epilepsy. While seizures vary in type and severity, some cause unusual movements, disorientation and loss of consciousness. Sometimes immediate medical care is necessary as an elliptic seizure can be life-threatening.
Alcohol intoxication is not the sole explanation for behaviors that resemble being drunk. While having a medical condition may not prevent you from a DUI arrest, supplying proof of your state of health later on should spare you legal consequences.