Los Angeles DUI and Medical Experts
When defending a driver charged with driving under the influence, it may be necessary to procure the services of an expert witness. In DUI cases, there are accident reconstruction experts who can testify about what happened during an automobile collision and toxicology experts who can testify regarding why the results of the chemical test may be flawed. In some cases, it may be necessary to use a medical expert who can testify about medical conditions the defendant was suffering from or other medical factors that may be relevant.
The police officer will often rely on physical indicia of intoxication such as bloodshot and watery eyes, slurred speech and poor balance and poor performance on the field sobriety tests as justification for arresting a driver on suspicion of DUI. However, in some cases the driver may have been suffering from a medical condition that caused him or her to exhibit symptoms similar to those exhibited by someone under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The defense may be able to provide copies of the defendant’s medical history to the prosecution to show why a medical condition explains a driver’s appearance or demeanor.
There are a number of medical conditions that can affect a DUI case. The driver may suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease (“GERD”) that pushes the contents of their stomach into the person’s esophagus and mouth. If the person had consumed a small amount of alcohol, a condition such as GERD would force this alcohol back up into the person’s mouth and throat which would lead to high levels of mouth alcohol. The presence of mouth alcohol can lead to abnormally high BAC results when using a Breathalyzer or other breath testing device and can lead to wildly inaccurate results. If a driver suffers from GERD, a medical expert could explain this condition to the jury and show how alcohol from the stomach would have been present in a defendant’s esophagus and mouth at the time of testing.
In addition, medical conditions such as diabetes can also lead to unnaturally elevated BAC results when using a breath testing device. A medical expert can describe what diabetes is and what physical symptoms this disease may cause. In many cases, a diabetic with low blood sugar may present similar symptoms as someone who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Diabetics also produce ketones on their breath which can be confused with alcohol when using a breath testing device.
The defendant may use his or her own personal physician as a medical expert or can procure the testimony of a medical expert who is familiar with the defendant’s medical history and can testify about the defendant’s medical condition. The defendant’s attorney may need to obtain the defendant’s medical records in fighting the DUI allegations. The expert may prepare a report that would be provided to the prosecution during the pretrial phase of a DUI case. The prosecution may be willing to dismiss or significantly reduce the charges based on the information in the medical report. If the case goes to trial, the defense can call the medical expert to testify on the defendant’s behalf. The prosecutor would be able to cross-examine the expert witness and may call an expert witness of its own to rebut the defense’s expert.
If you have been charged with a DUI offense and believe that a medical condition may be relevant to your defense, it is imperative that you discuss your case with a Los Angeles DUI Lawyer right away. As a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience, Los Angeles DUI Attorney Michael Kraut works with the top medical experts and understands how to effectively defend DUI cases.
For more information about Los Angeles DUI and medical experts, and to schedule your free consultation, contact Los Angeles DUI Lawyer Michael Kraut at the Kraut Law Group located at 6255 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 1520, Los Angeles, CA 90028. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 888-334-6344 or 323-464-6453.