Damico & Stockstill, Attorneys at Law

Diabetic defendant charged with Louisiana DWI crash will appeal

The accuracy of a test can mean the difference between freedom and a conviction for a Baton Rouge criminal defendant. A driver with a blood alcohol content level of 0.08 percent or higher is intoxicated, according to Louisiana law. Sometimes, a health condition can influence a BAC level.

A diabetic Louisiana man was convicted of vehicular homicide for a 2012 accident near Oak Grove. Police said the driver failed a BAC test with a reading of 0.09 percent. The Gonzales man was recently sentenced to a seven-year prison term with a two-year suspension, three years of hard labor and two years of supervised probation.

In addition, the 31-year-old defendant was ordered to pay fees and fines and attend weekly Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. The man was arrested for DWI in East Baton Rouge Parish less than a year before the fatal accident. The homicide case will be appealed by the defense attorney using the argument the client's Type I diabetes interfered with the test for drunk driving.

The September 2012 accident involved three vehicles. The accused man was driving an SUV on La. 73 in a no-passing zone. The sport utility vehicle hit a cement truck as the defendant attempted to pass a car in front of him.

The cement truck struck the car and killed a 56-year-old Prairieville woman. The dump truck driver was injured but not faulted, because the crash disabled the truck's steering and made the vehicle impossible to control. Vehicular negligent injury was added to the Gonzales defendant's charges – a charge that remains unresolved.

Diabetes Health explored the similarities between signs of intoxication and diabetic symptoms. Diabetics with low blood glucose levels may exhibit behaviors like impaired vision and speech that make them appear drunk. Hyperglycemic patients can develop acetones in their breath that register as alcohol in toxicology tests. A DWI defense attorney can fight drunk-driving charges based on inaccurate BAC readings.

Source: The Advocate, "Gonzales man gets seven-year sentence in vehicular homicide" David J. Mitchell, Jun. 11, 2014

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