Three Medical Conditions That May May Mimic Intoxication and Can Help You Contest A DUI Rap

If you have been accused of DUI for behaviors that indicated you were intoxicated and you know that you are not guilty, you may be suffering from some type of medical condition. Consult a DUI attorney for their advice on how you need to defend your case. They will be able to match you with medical professionals that will work with you to secure the proper testing and diagnosis that will hopefully lead to your acquittal.


Over 29 million people in the U.S. suffer from some form of diabetes. Of this number there are over 8 million who may be undiagnosed, or not aware that they are suffering from this condition. Unfortunately, if you suffer from this disease you may experience signs and symptoms that often mimic the signs of alcohol intoxication. 

This often happens when your blood glucose levels become too high, or when you become hyperglycemic, or when your blood sugar becomes too low, or when you become hypoglycemic. Either condition means that not enough glucose is crossing into your brain cells, which can alter your mental status. This can cause you to do the following:

  • Become confused
  • Be combative
  • Stagger
  • Slur your words
  • Lose consciousness and more

When the body begins to use stored proteins and fats to create energy instead of glucose, high levels of acid can build up in your blood. This will cause your body to go into diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). While this is rare in people with type 2 diabetes, it can be found in people with type 1 diabetes since their bodies do not make insulin at all.

In addition to being a life threatening condition, DKA could also cause your breath to smell fruity. This smell can also be mistaken for alcohol. Ketones can also increase in your bloodstream when you have an insulin reaction, go without eating, become sick, or are stressed. 

Auto-Brewery Syndrome

While a breathalyzer test will help to clear you if you suffer from diabetes, there is a condition that will cause you to register a high blood alcohol concentration (BAC). This rare condition is referred to as auto-brewery syndrome or gut fermentation syndrome. This is a rare medical condition in which your digestive system actually produces ethanol by trapping and converting yeast. 

A person suffering from this condition can display all of the signs and symptoms of being intoxicated from simply consuming a carbohydrate heavy meal. These symptoms have been documented to include:

  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Mental impairment
  • Mood disturbances
  • Slurred speech
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Elevated BAC levels

Although this condition is extremely rare, it was recently used by a DUI attorney to defend a client in New York to beat a drunk driving charge. Because the condition is so rare, there is limited documentation on how to treat it, although anti-fungal drugs and a low carbohydrate diet has shown to be successful.


Another condition that may give people the impression that you are under the influence of alcohol is ataxia. This condition can develop over time, or may come on suddenly as a result of other neurological disorder. It can be caused by and inherited gene or one of the following conditions:

  • Stroke
  • Tumor
  • Head Trauma
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Alcohol Abuse
  • Toxic Medication Reactions
  • Heavy Metal Poisoning
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Vitamin Deficiencies and others

Some of the symptoms of ataxia include:

  • Being unsteady on your feet
  • Poor coordination
  • Change in your speech patterns
  • Involuntary eye movements and more

The resemblance of ataxia to inebriation is not a coincidence, since both conditions affect the main nerve cells in the cerebellum, or the top of the brain stem. Although ataxia cannot be cured, some forms that are caught in the early stages can often be successfully managed with drug therapy, high doses of vitamin E, and a gluten-free diet.

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