The Potential Effect of Diabetes on a Person's Alcohol Concentration in DUI Cases

Posted by Raymond Kimble | Feb 17, 2018 | 0 Comments

Recently, a client charged with an alcohol related offense and another charged with Extreme DUI asked about the effect of diabetes on the alcohol concentration which was reported by the crime laboratory and intended to be used against them by the prosecutor.  It is important to know that in certain circumstances, diabetes can impact an individual's  alcohol concentration and affect the way in which a DUI, aggravated assault or even a vehicular manslaughter can be defended.

In Arizona, a persons alcohol concentration following an arrest is usually measured by a blood or breath test.  The Intoxilyzer 8000 is the machine used by police departments to determine a suspect's alcohol concentration in DUI cases.  The Intoxilyzer uses an inferred light beam to detect alcohol and uses a ratio to convert a persons breath sample into a blood alcohol concentration.  

In some cases, people who have  diabetes will suffer from low blood sugar.  This  is known as "Hypoglycemia" and causes ketoacidosis.  Ketoacidosis causes the development of acetone in the mouth which can be smelled on the breath and is often mistaken for alcohol.  Breath testing devices such as the Intoxilyzer are designed to detect ethyl alcohol.   In cases involving hypoglycemia however, the breath testing device will mistake acetones on a diabetic's  breath for ethyl alcohol and report an inaccurate result.  In fact, the presence of acetones on a diabetes breath may cause an alcohol concentration to be reported as much as .02 greater than what it actually may be.  

In contrast to a breath test, diabetes will not affect the accuracy of a result in cases where a blood test is used by police to determine a person's alcohol concentration.  This is because blood tests specifically test for ethyl alcohol which is the impairment causing ingredient in all alcoholic drinks.  Acetone will not be present in a person's blood like it would on the breath of someone suffering from diabetes and low blood sugar.  

Despite their blood test result, people who suffer from diabetes can still point to their condition as a defense to a DUI charge.   Diabetics experiencing hypoglycemia may have a slow and slurred speech, poor balance, impaired motor abilities, may appear drowsy, flushed and disoriented.  Police will often incorrectly interpret these symptoms as alcohol impairment.  Hypoglycemia can even cause the diabetic to stagger.   Consequently, if a person is hypoglycemic, it would be extremely difficult or impossible for them to perform field tests such as the walk and turn or once leg stand.


If you, a family member or friend has been arrested for a misdemeanor DUI or felony Aggravated DUI offense in Arizona, it is important that you immediately begin working with a qualified DUI attorney who can effectively represent you in the court of law and take necessary steps to protect your driver's license. Attorney Raymond Kimble is a former police officer, DUI and felony prosecutor and has represented thousands of people charged with DUI in Tempe, Mesa, Gilbert, Scottsdale, Phoenix and other cities throughout Maricopa and Pinal Counties over the last twenty years. Ray Kimble  will have a clear understanding of all the circumstances in your case, along with the knowledge, skill and experience to protect your drivers license and achieve the best possible outcome for you.

About the Author

Raymond Kimble

About Raymond Kimble Attorney Raymond Kimble has built his law practice on the philosophy that each client deserves consistent individual attention. Ray realizes that being charged with a DUI or criminal offense is one of the most stressful events in a person's life. A DUI, felony or misdemeanor arrest can involve prison or jail time, probation, huge fines and a criminal record. Consequently, people who face DUI, felony or misdemeanor charges in Arizona are placed at risk of losing employment or being barred from future job opportunities. Ray works to lessen his client's anxiety by ensuring that they have direct access to him at all times and can reach him by e-mail, cell phone or text during normal business hours as well as nights or weekends if they have a pressing question or concern. Raymond Kimble is a dedicated DUI and criminal defense lawyer who has built a reputation of working tirelessly to protect his client's constitutional rights, their future and liberty. Ray strives to provide the strongest defense possible for each client despite the obstacles they may face. Put Experience to Work for You Raymond Kimble's twenty years of experience with respect to DUI, misdemeanor and felony criminal charges extends well beyond law school where he graduated within the top ten percent of his class. Ray was a police officer for ten years prior to becoming an attorney. As a police officer, Ray was trained in both DUI and criminal investigation and his personal involvement in criminal cases while a police officer certainly gives him a unique perspective when reviewing police reports, interviewing witnesses and challenging physical evidence. Ray often identifies legal issues or mistakes made by police during an investigation through his own personal experience as a patrol officer. In addition to his police experience, Raymond Kimble worked as a prosecutor with the Maricopa County Attorney's Office where he was responsible for prosecuting DUI, felony and misdemeanor crimes. During his tenure as a prosecutor, Ray conducted a number of jury trials and hearings related to the admissibility of evidence. Through his involvement with these cases as a prosecutor, Ray learned how to properly evaluate the strength and weaknesses of a DUI, misdemeanor or felony charge and became skilled in jury selection, argument, and the direct and cross examination of both civilian witnesses, experts and police officers. Of course, Raymond Kimble's expertise extends beyond his experience as a police officer and prosecutor. Specifically, Ray has successfully represented thousands of people during the last fifteen years throughout Maricopa County, Arizona. To best serve his Clients, Raymond remains current on changes in the law as well as police tactics by regularly attending seminars focused on defending criminal charges and reading the latest articles and books related to DUI and criminal defense. Ray also regularly writes criminal defense blogs and posts so that people faced with a criminal charge are better informed about their rights.


There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.

Leave a Comment