3 Health Conditions That Can Affect the Results of a Breath Test

On Behalf of | Dec 28, 2017 | Drunk Driving |

Imagine driving home one evening when you notice a police car with its lights on behind you. You realize you still haven’t fixed that burnt out brake light, so you make a mental note to do so later that weekend.   It feels like a routine traffic stop, and when the officer asks you to blow into a breathalyzer, you do not hesitate. After all, you have not been drinking.

When you blow into the device, though, it registers a reading that indicates you are legally intoxicated. An arrest results, and before you know it, you are facing criminal charges. What happened? And how should you proceed? Although this scenario is somewhat unlikely, it can and does happen on occasion.   There are several reasons why a breathalyzer test might give a false reading. For example, the officer may have failed to calibrate the device properly, or you may be suffering from a health condition that skews the results of the test. If you are facing DUI charges but do not believe the evidence that the prosecutor has against you is valid, turn to Gordon & Hess, PLC. After evaluating the circumstances of your arrest, a Grand Rapids criminal attorney can help you determine the most strategic way to proceed. Call 616-369-7452 to schedule a case evaluation. Read on to learn about three health conditions that can affect the results of a breathalyzer test

  1. Asthma

Many asthma inhalers contain 30 percent or more of a methyl compound as a propellant. Although this alcohol is not absorbed in the bloodstream, it can remain in the lining of the lungs and thus affect the results of a breathalyzer test. Researchers have determined that using an inhaler and taking a breath test a short while later can indeed result in a reading that is above the legal limit.

  1. Diabetes

When people with diabetes have low blood sugar, they may exhibit signs of intoxication, like slurred speech, disorientation, poor reflexes, and drowsiness. And when diabetics have high blood sugar, it can result in a condition called ketoacidosis. People with ketoacidosis can have acetone on their breath, which may result in a false BAC reading. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 30 million people in the United States have diabetes. Because the condition is so prevalent, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration actually acknowledges diabetes as a common DUI defense.

  1. GERD

Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, is a digestive disorder characterized by heartburn, chest pain, difficulty swallowing, and the regurgitation of food. When individuals with GERD consume even just one drink, it can result in a BAC reading that is far higher than it should be because of something called “mouth alcohol.”     When GERD sufferers experience acid reflux, the contents of the stomach can flow up the esophagus and enter the mouth. If these contents contain even a little alcohol, a high BAC reading can result.   If you are facing DUI charges but think you have been falsely accused, turn to Gordon & Hess, PLC. The attorneys on our team offer three decades of combined experience representing clients throughout West Michigan.   Call 616-369-7452 to schedule a consultation with a criminal defense attorney in Grand Rapids.