More and more individuals are finding themselves under the care of a doctor for a variety of ailments. According to the American Diabetes Association, 50,000 people are diagnosed with both type 1 and type 2 Diabetes in Michigan every year. Moreover, people are being prescribed blood thinners (for heart attack, high blood sugar, stroke, blood clots, etc.) at an increasingly high frequency. Most people don’t know diabetes can be a DUI defense.

Diabetes and DUI Defense

While many people recognize the impact diabetes on health, there are similar concerns when it comes to legal consequences. Unfortunately, many people do not understand the legal implications of their conditions until it’s too late. Therefore, if you find yourself with one of these conditions, listen up!

What is Implied Consent?

According to MCL 257.625c, by driving on a public road in Michigan, you automatically consent to a chemical test when asked by a police officer. The Secretary of State refers to this as the “Implied Consent Law.” This means that if you are arrested for a DUI, you must provide an officer with a breath or blood sample.

This sample is then used to determine whether you have alcohol or controlled substances in your blood alcohol concentration. Evidence from this test will be used against you in your criminal case.

If you decide to decline this test, the officer will draft a warrant to take a sample of your blood. However, your license will be suspended for one year, and six points will be added to your driving record for refusing. Therefore, refusing to take this test carries a VERY significant penalty.

Implied Consent Law and Medical Conditions

While the Implied Consent Law seems to cover just about everyone, there is a small section of the population that are not subject to the harsh penalties. In fact, the Implied Consent Law does not even apply to them! MCL 257.625c(2) states:

“A person afflicted with hemophilia, diabetes, or a condition requiring the use of an anticoagulant shall not be considered to have given consent to the withdrawal of blood.”

I believe we can all agree that the sentence, as written, makes little to no sense. In fact, I have had judges tell me that they cannot grasp what that exception is supposed to mean. Even worse, I have experienced police officers admit to me that they don’t know how to handle these cases!

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However, this exception essentially means that you cannot be threatened with the penalty for not taking the test. Instead, should you choose to not have your blood drawn, you can simply tell the officer “no.”

This will force the officer to get a warrant for your blood. Your attorney can then challenge the basis for the warrant (i.e. not enough probable cause to arrest).

Using Diabetes as a DUI Defense

SET THE TONE. If you fear the traffic stop is turning into a DUI arrest, be upfront with the officer about your medical conditions. This will put the officers on notice that certain field sobriety tests may be impacted by your condition and blood glucose levels. Moreover, they will know up front that you are not subject to the Implied Consent penalties.

All too often, the officers ask about medical conditions after you have already consented. Even if you have given consent under the threat of a penalty, that doesn’t apply to you. The court will find your consent valid.

Make the police do their job. You should not be penalized for their failure to know the law.

The Takeaway

If you find yourself in this position, you need an DUI defense attorney who knows the Implied Consent Law inside and out. Find a DUI lawyer who will listen to your story and follow up on possible issues with the arrest. What may not seem important to you at the time may be very important in your DUI case.