Building a Defense: Certain Physical Disabilities Can Give the Impression of Intoxication

Again, you have an odd case of where somebody perhaps has an ailment. Let me give you an example, like someone with a muscular impediment, such as muscular dystrophy. The person may be able to drive. The officer stops the person. When that person gets out, there are certain features about that person that can lead the officer to think they’re intoxicated.

The driver’s facial muscles can be loose. They can’t perform the walk in a straight line. They go to take the Alcotest and can’t expel breath to have a reading. They can be accused of being drunk and refusing.

This Cases Often Require Expert Medical Testimony on the Defendant’s Behalf

In a case like that, it’s the lawyer’s obligation to have a medical expert to evaluate that person. The State or the prosecutor is not easily going to dismiss a case. You’re going to need expert evidence.

If somebody has a type of a disability that can appear like intoxication, it is mandatory that you have to get an expert. It has to be an MD, someone properly qualified to evaluate this person and see what happened and to be able to come in if necessary to testify on behalf of the person and say, “Look, this person couldn’t walk in a straight line. This person could not breathe because they have muscular dystrophy or a myofascial dystrophy. They have lost the ability to give adequate breath samples.

While It Can Benefit the Defense Immeasurably, Expert Testimony Adds to the Cost of Handling a DWI Case

A case like that is going to be more expensive. This is because you need the doctor. You need the doctor to evaluate the person’s medical records and interview this client, review all of the police records and to make professional statements based upon their examination, knowledge and experience.

Hopefully, when the prosecutor has read the medical report, he will decide not to go to trial. If they still want to proceed, then this expert is going to have to come to court for a trial.

The cost can be several thousand dollars and the client is responsible for these expenses

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