If you've been diagnosed with diabetes and are trying to adjust your lifestyle to fit your new health status, you might want to stop drinking. While drinking alcohol is itself not totally prohibited for many people with diabetes, a badly timed confluence of low blood glucose and a single drink can land you in real trouble. A severe case of low blood glucose can resemble being drunk, and if you've had anything to drink, no matter your actual blood alcohol level, you are going to have a tough time convincing people you weren't actually drunk -- if you survive.
Motor and Neurological Effects
Low blood glucose is also known as hypoglycemia or insulin shock. Initial symptoms may include shakiness and sweating, but more severe cases can descend into delirium, confusion, and seizures -- these are what make you look and act intoxicated even if you haven't had any alcohol. If you are behind the wheel of a car, that will translate to your driving, the police aren't going to assume you're diabetic when they see you. This will delay your ability to get help and could result in you falling unconscious or even dying.
Blood and Breath Tests
Normally, someone with severe hypoglycemia will have normal breath odor, and the hypoglycemia will not affect your blood alcohol reading when the police test you. However, if you had a drink earlier -- even if it was small and not enough to send your blood alcohol over the legal limit -- the police may smell the alcohol and assume you are drunk. You can end up with either a reckless driving charge, or if you're in a state like Utah, you can still be charged with drunk driving. Utah allows people with blood alcohol levels under the legal limit to still be charged if they appear impaired. It won't matter if you didn't hit anyone or anything -- driving while experiencing the symptoms of severe hypoglycemia turns you into a risk to everyone on the road.
If you have been charged with drunk driving even after police or paramedics had finally figured out that you were suffering from hypoglycemia, talk to a good DUI attorney, who has experience with hypoglycemia cases. It will take skill to deal with the case, especially if the police report they smelled alcohol on your breath. Don't assume the case will be cut and dried -- let an attorney, like Bommarito Law Firm, handle researching and defending your case.