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Question:

From Virginia Beach, Virginia, USA:

I have had type 2 diabetes for 17 years, now treated with insulin and pills, and I also wear a Medic Alert bracelet and carry a similar card in my wallet. I recently experienced severe hypoglycemia while I was driving. I blacked out and have no memory of my actions until I was involved in a (fortunately minor) accident.

The police took me into custody and they locked me in a squad car in handcuffs for more than two hours, despite my trying to tell them I have diabetes. They took me to a hospital only because they thought I was drunk (my breath test was zero) where I was able to get a blood glucose test. The emergency room doctor was immediately called, and I was treated. Despite all that, I was still charged with drunk driving.

There have been many similar cases, and I'm trying to compile a list of them. I've never had a severe case of hypoglycemia before and take a lot of care with my medication. That particular day I had followed normal my schedule, eaten an appropriate meal and gone to a meeting. I left at 9:00 pm with no problem and suddenly blacked out while driving home.

Answer:

You have been charged with a serious criminal offense. You need the assistance of an attorney licensed in Virginia who specializes in traffic cases. Please do not attempt to defend yourself simply by showing up in court with evidence of your diabetes and medical journal articles about the effects of hypoglycemia -- you will lose.

If you do not know an attorney, call the Virginia state bar lawyer referral service for the names of attorneys in your area specializing in DWI. Further, regardless of the outcome of this criminal proceeding, you will likely face a DMV medical hearing on your fitness to operate a motor vehicle. Remember the adage -- A man who defends himself in court has a fool for a client.

DSH

DTQ-20020827225041
Original posting 31 Aug 2002
Posted to Hypoglycemia and Other Social Issues

  
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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:38
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