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DUI Defendants With Medical Conditions

Lawyer Helping Phoenix Area Residents Facing Drunk Driving Charges

In Arizona you can be charged with a DUI if you operate a car while impaired, or while your blood or breath alcohol concentration is greater than the statutory limit. The DUI charge can be proven in many different ways, but one common way is through a chemical test, whether it's a Breathalyzer, urine test, or blood test. If you have a medical condition, however, a chemical test result (or even a field sobriety test) might show impairment even though you didn't drink an intoxicating amount. It may be possible to provide a strong defense based on a defendant's medical condition. Experienced Phoenix DUI attorney James E. Novak may be able to help you by mounting this type of defense to drunk driving charges, if appropriate.

Chemical Tests

When you're pulled over for a DUI, you may be subject to a chemical test, which along with a field sobriety test, may be used to determine whether you were intoxicated while driving. Most people are aware of breath tests, which are taken during the traffic stop with a handheld device that measures your blood alcohol test. However, these chemical tests can be inaccurate, particularly if you are a DUI defendant with a medical condition.

A blood alcohol content measurement that is more than .08% is considered probable cause to arrest you. However, you can also be prosecuted simply for being impaired while driving, even if your blood alcohol level was lower. Generally the Breathalyzer test works by converting your breath sample to a blood alcohol concentration in a process known as the partition ratio. This conversion may not be appropriate because it doesn't necessarily show the partition ration for you as an individual. Certain factors, such as a medical condition, can cause a partition ratio to vary. Thus, when you have certain medical conditions, your Breathalyzer or other test may not accurately reflect your blood alcohol concentration level. Your defense attorney can assess whether you may be able to challenge your DUI charges on this basis.

DUI Defendants With Medical Conditions

In Arizona both a preliminary and a second breath test may be administered to decide whether you were above the legal limit. It may be possible to challenge these or other tests on the basis of your medical condition. For example, gastric reflux can affect the results of a breath test.

Blood tests are more frequently used when a driver is believed to be under the influence of drugs, and are often more accurate than a breath test is, but there may be issues associated with their accuracy as well when a defendant with a medical condition is involved. Certain kits are used that include a vacuum tube that is chemically treated in order to stop the blood from coagulating. Officers are supposed to use a specific protocol to mix the sample with chemicals. In addition to challenging the procedures by which the blood was mixed or the certification of the officer, it might be appropriate to challenge them if you have diabetes or high blood ketones that could have affected the test results in an adverse fashion. If blood testing is determined to be inadmissible, it may be possible to get charges dropped or reduced.

There is a rare condition called gut fermentation syndrome in which intoxicating amounts of ethanol are produced through fermentation inside the digestive system. It may be possible for those with this syndrome to use their medical condition as a defense.

Sometimes, too, there are medical conditions or medications that can result in involuntary eye movement that is similar to what's present during alcohol impairment. Additionally, those who are 50 pounds overweight or over 65-years-old aren't good candidates for such tests.

Consult an Aggressive DUI Defense Attorney in Phoenix

You should not assume a conviction for a DUI is certain even if a chemical test was administered and the results weigh against you. Sometimes for DUI defendants with medical conditions it is possible to challenge the results of a chemical test based on those condition. Lawyer James E. Novak provides an aggressive defense for those charged with a DUI in the Phoenix area including Mesa, Chandler, Gilbert, Scottsdale, and Maricopa County. Contact him at (480) 413-1499 or via our online form.

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I was facing criminal charges with three priors in my history. Mr Novak was very helpful and got me a lighter sentence than I probably deserved. He is a great attorney and I would highly recommend him. A. T.
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James worked tirelessly behind the scenes with the prosecution, to decrease my son’s charges to a more reasonable penalty. I could not have asked for a better, more professional attorney. He treated my son with the utmost respect and walked him through every step of a very difficult situation. S. G.
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Attorney Novak did an outstanding job defending my son. Due to his extensive professional background within the court system, he was successfully able to defend my son during a very difficult time for my family. I highly recommend Attorney James Novak for your legal needs. T. G.