Interviewer: If your client has a particular ailment or a condition, would that be helpful to your case? For example, what if your client is diabetic?
Symptoms of Diabetes Can Mimic Those of Alcohol Consumption
Brian Sloan: Symptoms of diabetes can mimic those of alcohol, so that is something that can be helpful, but it wouldn’t necessarily explain away why there is a blood alcohol level at a certain level in their blood.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder does tend to come up in DUI cases, especially when trying to explain away why someone is crying, why someone has mood swings, possibly why they have bloodshot and watery eyes. Different kinds of ailments do come up, simply because they mimic signs and symptoms of alcohol impairment.
Alcoholism is not going to be an excuse to drink and drive. It’s more mitigating if someone were to be convicted. It’s more mitigation than an issue of a defense, but again sometimes be a defense, depending on what the medical issue is.
For example, it wasn’t one of my cases, but I believe that there was a man who had I think it was a tracheotomy, so he had a hole in his throat. The issue was having a hole in his throat, so can you really rely on the breath test results if he blew into an Intoxilyzer or if he blew into a breath testing machine?
Can we really rely that the result that we got was due to deep lung air and not the result of alcohol accumulating near his tracheotomy hole? The same premise applies with people with dentures. There are some people that have GERD, gastrointestinal issues. There are all sorts of ailments that can come into play, depending exactly on what it is.
Can an Ailment Such as Acid Reflux Affect a Breath Test?
Interviewer: What about acid reflux?
Brian Sloan: That can be an issue too. Again, because if acid is being regurgitated up into the esophagus, up into the throat again, what we’re trying to get in breath tests is the deep lung air, and if you’re getting bile or something else coming in, that can definitely affect the breath test and results in a much higher reading.
If You Feel Overwhelmed during a DUI Case, Should You Just give up and Plead Guilty?
Interviewer: Have you ever dealt with individuals that want to give up or try to plead guilty during the process?
The Process of a DUI Case Involves Your Constitutional Rights
Brian Sloan: There’s a misconception out there that someone should just plead guilty because if they were drinking and they were driving, then that’s the end of it, they should just give up, they should just take responsibility. But there’s so much more to it than that.
There are legal issues, there are constitutional issues and there are factual issues that your average person isn’t going to see but an experienced attorney will. If someone is fine with having a conviction and they don’t want to bother spending the money on an attorney, they can just decide to plead guilty.
While You Are Mulling over That Guilty Plea, It Is Important to Note That Penalties for Subsequent Offenses Can Escalate
What I come to find out is a many times people end up regretting doing that because if they get in trouble again in the future, then they will look back on their previous conviction and say, oh, that’s one I should have fought, things are so much worse now, I wish I had an attorney back then.
The Judicial System Was Not Created to Foster Successful Self-Representation
As I said before, I would much rather someone have the advice of a public defender than to go at it on their own or to go into court and just say, forget it, I’m guilty, I’m just going to take responsibility. This is because the person who goes in there alone has a greater chance of being taken advantage of, there’s a much greater chance of that person having a much harsher penalty than they otherwise would if they were represented by an attorney.
I saw that in court today where there was a man who decided to just take responsibility and he ended up with an 18-day sentence where I think that if he was represented by an attorney, it would have been something like a 9-day sentence.
Oftentimes, an Attorney Can Greatly Mitigate the Potential Penalties of a DUI
Interviewer: How often are you able to get cases reduced like that?
Brian Sloan: Being successful is about knowing the laws and knowing specifically what to say to the court. The court is there to determine legal issues and to determine if a plea agreement before them is appropriate and make sure that juries are doing what they’re supposed to be doing. They are not there to really help necessarily the client. They’re not there to give legal advice to the client.
Prosecutors are there to represent the people; they represent the citizens of their city. They are not there necessarily to look out for the best interests of the defendant.
That’s why we have defense attorneys. That’s why there are Public Defender Offices. That’s why there are private attorneys. We are there to look out for the best interests to keep up to date on the latest laws, to make sure that we can argue in front of the judge to attempt to convince them to do what is ultimately in the best interests of our client.