What medical conditions can appear like a DUI?

On Behalf of | Sep 19, 2023 | Criminal Defense

If you face driving under the influence charges, you could face serious penalties, including jail time and fines. Unfortunately, there are also many medical conditions that can mimic impaired driving. For example, some conditions may cause you to swerve or lose control of your vehicle.

While you should take care not to drive if you have a condition that could make you lose control of your vehicle, there are many conditions you may not realize could cause a problem behind the wheel.


In the U.S., about one in five people with diabetes do not have a formal diagnosis. When you do not know you have diabetes, your blood sugar levels may become out of control. Poorly managed diabetes can cause symptoms that mimic alcohol intoxication, including:

  • Slurred speech
  • Impaired coordination
  • Confusion
  • Altered behavior

If you have low blood sugar, you may find it challenging to pass field sobriety tests.

Epilepsy and neurological conditions

If you have epilepsy or another seizure disorder, it can cause muscle jerking, altered consciousness and disorientation. Unfortunately, during a traffic stop, these symptoms may look like intoxication. Other conditions like Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis can cause loss of balance, muscle tremors, and difficulty speaking.

Medication side effects

Medications, including over-the-counter and prescription drugs, can cause various side effects. If you start a medication, you may not know which side effects will affect you before you get behind the wheel. Unfortunately, many medications can cause drowsiness, slurred speech and impaired coordination.

If law enforcement officers do not have the appropriate training to recognize signs of a medical condition that mimics DUI symptoms, it could result in an unfair DUI charge.