The Champion

July and August 2011 , Page 54 

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Driving Under the Influence of Diabetes?

By Ronald L. Moore

Read more DWI columns.

Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not properly produce or use insulin, one of the primary hormones that regulate blood sugar levels. Diabetes affects about 25.8 million people in the United States, or about eight percent of the population.1 Eight percent is about 1 in 12. That number should resonate with most attorneys, at least in states with 12-person juries. In many cases, at least one person on the jury will be a diabetic, and most people will know several diabetics. An attorney should expect that perhaps about 1 in 12 clients will be diabetics too. When it comes to driving under the influence, diabetics may have complications not present in other clients. These complications are (1) symptoms of diabetic emergency that mimic alcohol impairment, and (2) byproducts of diabetic metabolism that interfere with breath testing and perhaps even blood testing instruments.

Background on Diabetes

Normally, the body has a self-regulating system that controls blood sugar levels, keepin

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