Last December, some police got a call about a suspected drunk driver. They did find an erratic driver, and what they would do next would change the driver’s life – and for the better. However, this isn’t a story of someone with an alcohol dependency hitting rock bottom. In fact, it’s a story of someone having a medical episode behind the wheel and the police officers who realized she needed assistance.
Good Morning America (GMA) describes how the two responding officers observed Tamara Palmer veering in and out of her lane and hitting the curb before pulling her over, much like an impaired driver might. After speaking with her, they determined she didn’t have drugs or alcohol in her system, but something was not quite right with her. Palmer told GMA, “I told them I [had] a bad headache and I lost my vision for a few seconds. And then [they realized] something really medically was not right with me.”
The officers called for an ambulance and within 48 hours, Palmer had emergency surgery for a brain tumor. Per GMA, “Palmer said she is grateful to have been given a second chance at life, thanks to the quick thinking of the police officers who pulled her over that December day.”
She has since fully recovered from her brain surgery and is back at work as a teacher.
When a medical condition leads to a DUI
Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious offense that can have severe consequences, including fines, jail time, and license suspension. While alcohol and drugs are the most common causes of DUI, medical conditions can also lead to impaired driving and put others on the road at risk.
Medical conditions that can cause impaired driving include:
- Sleep apnea: Sleep apnea is a condition in which a person’s breathing repeatedly stops and starts while sleeping. It can cause daytime sleepiness and fatigue, which can impair driving ability.
- Diabetes: Diabetes can cause low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), which can lead to confusion, dizziness, and impaired coordination.
- Epilepsy: Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that can cause seizures. Seizures can cause loss of consciousness, muscle spasms, and impaired driving ability.
- Heart disease: Heart disease can cause chest pain, shortness of breath, and dizziness, which can impair driving ability.
- Vision problems: Vision problems such as cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration can impair visual acuity and peripheral vision, which are critical for safe driving.
If you have a medical condition that can impair your driving ability, it’s important to take steps to manage the condition and avoid driving when you are not feeling well. Here are some tips to help you stay safe on the road:
- Follow your treatment plan: If you have a medical condition requiring treatment, follow your doctor’s instructions and take your medication as prescribed.
- Get regular check-ups: Regular check-ups can help you monitor your condition and identify any changes that could affect your driving ability.
- Avoid driving when you’re not feeling well: If you’re experiencing symptoms of your medical condition, such as fatigue, dizziness, or confusion, avoid driving until you feel better.
- Plan ahead: If you have a medical condition that can impair your driving ability, plan your trips ahead of time and avoid driving during peak traffic times or in bad weather.
- Be honest with yourself: If you’re not feeling well or if you’re experiencing symptoms of your medical condition, be honest with yourself and avoid driving. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Several medical conditions can lead to impaired driving and put yourself and others on the road at risk. If you have a medical condition that can affect your driving ability, it’s important to take steps to manage the condition and avoid driving when you’re not feeling well. By following these tips, you can stay safe on the road and avoid the serious consequences of DUI and related charges.
What should I do if I’m arrested for DUI?Top of Form
- Stay calm and comply with the officer’s instructions. Resisting or arguing with the officer will only make the situation worse.
- Invoke your right to remain silent. You have the right to remain silent and to speak with an attorney before answering any questions. It’s important to be polite and cooperative – like providing your name and identification – but do not say anything that could incriminate you.
- Request to speak with an attorney. Ask the officer to allow you to speak with an attorney.
- If you refuse to submit to a breath, blood, or urine test, your license may be suspended for a period. However, if you do take the test and the results are above the legal limit, this evidence may be used against you in court.
- Contact a DUI defense attorney as soon as possible. An experienced attorney can review the facts of your case, assess the strength of the evidence against you, and help you understand your legal options.
- Attend all court hearings and comply with any conditions of your release. Failure to appear in court or to comply with court orders can result in additional charges and penalties.
Being arrested for DUI in Maryland can be a stressful and overwhelming experience. However, by following these steps and working with an experienced DUI defense attorney, you can protect your rights and minimize the potential consequences of the arrest.
Do you have a medical condition that resulted in a DUI charge? The criminal defense lawyers at Carey Law Office want to help. Let us demonstrate to the court that you were not driving under the influence or impaired; but rather have a medical condition. We will work to ensure you keep your license and work to toss out any criminal penalties. Call us in Bowie or Crofton or submit our contact form today. Our team helps clients in and around Prince George’s County, Anne Arundel County, and Calvert County.
My name is Joe Carey, and I am the founder and principal attorney of the Carey Law Office. I have lived in Maryland my entire life. I grew up in a small town in Prince George’s County and, with the help of my partner in life, Nancy, I raised my family here: three exceptional children (a son and two daughters), and two goofy, spoiled black Labrador Retrievers. Learn More