Question: Can there be other causes for the physical signs of intoxication?
Answer: Of course. There are a variety of causes for physical signs of intoxication, such as being exhausted. If it’s late at night and one’s been working all day, you could have red glassy eyes if you’re driving home; you could be swerving on the street—not necessarily swerving but crossing over the lanes accidentally; certainly when the officer pulls you over, you could have slow speech because of it, and certainly have red glassy eyes. But if you haven’t been drinking, then you would not have the odor of alcohol, so that may potentially throw a wrench in their investigation. Another thing would be diabetics.
That’s a big one. If you’re diabetic and your sugar level gets too high or too low, this can actually cause the appearance of intoxication in terms of slurred speech and your motor skills being impacted. So this is a very clear one. Again, if one has not been drinking they would not have the odor of alcohol on their breath; however, in this unfortunate event if one had so much as a beer and had alcohol on their breath, it would be extremely difficult if not impossible for an officer to tell the difference between the impairment from alcohol and impairment from a medical condition like diabetes or any other medical condition that may leave a person somewhat impaired.
To that end, even the use of prescription medications that have been given to a defendant legally to take, some of them have intoxicating—or let’s say impairing—effects. And this can actually result in a DUI type of a charge, even if there was no alcohol involvement. So, a defendant driver needs to be careful about the use of even prescription medications when driving an automobile and then in communicating these things to a police officer who are looking for signs of impairment and things to convict you with.
In the total absence of alcohol when there has been the consumption of medication, the police officers can call a drug recognition expert who will basically take what you tell them and write it down and then try to convict you later on based on your own admission as to what medications you were taking. So it’s best to keep your communications with the police officers to a bare minimum and give them as least information as possible.