How diabetes can affect a breath test reading

On Behalf of | Nov 4, 2016 | personal injury |

If you are pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving, the officer will likely request that you submit to a Breathalyzer test to gauge your blood alcohol level. You may refuse, of course, but in many places, this can mean an admission of guilt. This would be a simple situation if breath tests were an entirely reliable tool, but according to Diabetes Health, diabetics are at risk of triggering faulty results. See why and what you can do in such a situation.

How inaccurate results are generated

The science that contributes to a false negative is complex. In short, if a diabetic becomes temporarily hypoglycemic, his or her breath may contain ethyl alcohol, which registers on a Breathalyzer. This occurs if the hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, triggers ketoacidosis. Acetone on the breath is a symptom of the latter and a potential cause of inaccurate results on a Breathalyzer. Even if you are not drunk, if you have had any alcohol, it can lead to hypoglycemia quickly.

Other potential causes of a false positive

Diabetics are not the only people who may be vulnerable to inaccurate breath tests and DUI charges. People who are hypoglycemic are also susceptible, as are people on low-calorie diets. A range of bodily functions can increase the concentration of alcohol in your blood or breath, and when this occurs, it will be difficult to get an accurate reading of your blood alcohol level.

The effects of an inaccurate reading

If an officer records a breath test reading that indicates you are drunk, you will typically be arrested regardless of other circumstances. At the very least, the consequences are inconvenient and, at the very most, life-altering. Even if you are not convicted, a record of your arrest may be available and can jeopardize job and other opportunities in the future.

Recourse after a false positive

People who have been subjected to inaccurate breath tests should do research to best understand what options are available. Collecting information on potential causes and learning about the test can help you determine how you would like to proceed and any charges that may be pending. Information is likely to be your best defense in establishing your innocence.

If you would like additional legal counsel, an attorney may be able to provide you with guidance. Hiring representation is one potential way to fight inaccurate DUI charges and breath tests.