It is always heartening when I can report on a just resolution of a dui prosecution. Toward that end I would like to take this opportunity to commend the Monroe County prosecutor’s office in their decision to allow for dui charges against a diabetic truck driver to be dismissed.
In many cases involving mental or physical health conditions that can otherwise explain impairment symptoms, prosecutors offices are most often reluctant to dismiss a dui charge once a decision has been made to file such an offense.
Unfortunately, far too frequently true justice takes a backseat to public image in the mindset of prosecutorial decision making as to the proper disposition of such cases. As a consequence, needless time and public tax dollars is spent moving forward with weak trial evidence that can enable a prosecutor to pin the blame on a dismissal on a misguided jury as opposed to a mistaken initial charging decision.
In the Bloomington case in question, the trucker was reported weaving by a citizen informant while traveling along state road 37. From the point of arrest investigation throughout prosecution, the individual claimed complete sobriety with evidence presented that he had suffered from a medical condition called, “diabetic ketoacidosis,” an extremely dangerous health condition that can cause brief or extended periods of physical dysfunction that could otherwise be interpreted as impairment.
This ailment prompted by a lack of insulin and blood sugar in high amounts may cause extreme thirst and debilitation, feelings of nauseau, disorientation and altered breath that form some may appear sweet or fruity. Consequently, both the impairment in this case as well as breath smell initially attributed to alcohol has been accepted by the prosecutor as more the result of the medical condition described than from alcohol impairment.
As the indvidual who I will not name should have taken steps to cease all driving activity once he began to suspect the onset of the ketoacidosis, a lesser driving offense has been agreed to so as to dismiss any and all alcohol related offenses.
While those afflicted with such medical conditions often suggest that such dismissals are warranted based upon impairment like symptoms unrelated to alcohol, such disorders will usually not carry the day unless independent blood or breath test evidence can determine either flawed testing procedure or a bac level at a low enough level to attribute the impairment more to the health condition than from alcohol disorientation.