Most people arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI) offenses in Texas simply had too much to drink before they got behind the wheel. Someone who is over the legal limit for their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) could face criminal prosecution.
There are standardized screening methods in place to reduce the likelihood of police officers mistakenly arresting someone for a DWI offense. Officers ask certain questions, perform specific field sobriety tests and administer chemical tests. However, innocent people do sometimes still get charged with drunk driving in Texas. One of the scenarios where people would face prosecution without violating the law would involve certain health issues.
They can affect body chemistry
There are certain medical conditions that could cause a false positive on a chemical breath test. For example, some people have a rare condition called auto-brewery syndrome that causes their body to produce alcohol. They could fail chemical tests despite having had nothing to drink.
Others might have diabetes or other blood sugar issues. When the body has issues processing sugar, it may engage in chemical processes that produce acetone. Acetone could trigger a false positive on a breath test. Someone with asthma who recently used an inhaler could also fail a breath test.
Finally, those who have to follow special medical diets, including the keto diet, could feel a breath test when they have had nothing to drink. If someone has a medical condition that may have affected chemical testing, that could play a role in their defense strategy.
They can affect police perception
There are other health issues that might not impact chemical tests but could influence what an officer thinks. Symptoms of a medical issue could look like warning signs of impairment. Police officers notice factors like shaking hands, slurred speech and anxiety. They may treat those as signs of someone’s guilt or intoxication. Medical conditions could also potentially compromise someone’s performance on field sobriety tests.
Sometimes, there might be a medical explanation for why someone behaved in a certain way during a traffic stop. Conditions ranging from neurological disorders to mental health conditions can affect someone’s behavior and how an officer gauges their behavior during a traffic stop. Exploring explanations, like medical issues, could help someone plan an effective defense strategy when facing DWI charges.