November 01, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/
-- Some medical conditions may lead to false DUI arrests
Every year, thousands of people are arrested on drunk driving charges in South Carolina. According to The Century Council, 15,674 people were arrested for DUI in the state in 2011. Based on research, some of these people may have been falsely arrested.
A DUI conviction will almost always be costly for the person arrested. In addition to the fines and court fees, a person with a drunk driving conviction will also have the charges on his or her driving record for years, and may face additional penalties
such as a driver's license revocation and jail time. In South Carolina, people convicted of drunk driving must undergo a mandatory alcohol abuse treatment program, which will cost time and money. Also, says MADD, a judge may be able to order the installation of an ignition interlock device even for first-time offenders. While these consequences are meant to prevent people from driving drunk and injuring others, they're unfair if the person arrested hadn't been driving drunk.
The possibility of an inaccurate sobriety test
One test that is often up to a police officer's own judgment is the field sobriety test. The test is based on a person's reaction to balance and other tasks, including walking in a straight line with the arms held out to the sides and standing on one leg for a certain period of time. For some people, these tests can be difficult to pass even while sober, says ABC Action News. Those with balance problems, the elderly, people with cognitive issues and those with speech impediments can find themselves arrested on a DUI charge without having had anything to drink.
And in an especially strange case, one man's rare medical condition resulted in his testing at nearly five times over the legal limit with a breath test
. Fox News said that the man didn't know why he would suddenly get dizzy and experience the symptoms of being drunk despite not having had anything to drink. His doctors and his wife suspected he was secretly an alcoholic, but further tests revealed he had "auto-brewery syndrome," a condition that caused bacteria in his intestines to convert starchy foods into alcohol. If the man had been pulled over before he knew of his condition, he may very well have received a drunk driving charge.
Contacting an attorney
In the above man's case, and for those with balance issues or other conditions that caused them to fail a field sobriety test, it would be worth it to challenge the charges in court. Because the penalties for drunk driving are costly and affect one's driving record, it's best to avoid a conviction. If it can be proven that the sobriety tests were faulty, the charges may be lessened or dropped. It's important for people arrested on drunk driving charges to contact an experienced drunk driving defense attorney to find out what their rights are.
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