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False DUI Breath Test Because of Diabetes

This is a Guest Post provided by the law firm, Price Benowitz, LLP.

 

Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar can cause numerous side effects. Some of these include slurred speech, wobbling when walking, poor motor skills and increased acetone levels in the blood. For diabetics, a sudden drop in blood sugar can result in failed DUI blood and breath tests.

Questioning accuracy of breath tests

There have been suits where defendants in DUI cases have proven that breath tests are not always accurate. Because a breath test cannot discern between the types of alcohol on the breath, they can give a false positive reading. Some instances have been reported where someone who has not had anything to drink fails a test due to high acetone levels. Diabetics, people who have been working in areas where spray paint is being used, and someone who has recently eaten bread may have higher levels of acetone as well.

When you fail a field breath test

If you have failed a field breath test, it is important to notify the arresting officer that you are diabetic. In most cases, it is a good idea to ask for a blood test as well. However, it is important to note that a blood test may still show increased BAC levels if you are diabetic.

What you need to know about breath tests

There are some important things to remember about breath tests if you are stopped for a suspected DUI.

  • Check your state laws – In some states, you are required to submit to a breath test. Check with your Department of Motor Vehicles for the laws in your state. Other states allow you to refuse the breath test and opt for urinalysis or blood tests.
  • Breath tests do not measure BAC – BAC or blood alcohol counts cannot be determined by a breath test. These levels may only be obtained by blood tests.
  • False readings are possible – False DUI breath tests are possible if you are diabetic, if you have been smoking or eating or if you have jewelry in a tongue piercing.
  • Body temperature may play a role – Many people are unaware that an elevated body temperature may have an impact on breath tests. Some tests show that when body temperature is elevated by one degree, a breath test may show an increase of as much as eight percent.

If you are diabetic and stopped for driving under the influence, notify the officer that you are diabetic. If your state law allows you to refuse a breath test, it may be a good idea to do so. If you are arrested for DUI and you feel that your breath test provide a false positive result, contact an attorney right away.

Diabetes is a serious disease and most diabetics are unable to consume small amounts of alcohol without having a negative impact on their health. However, whether you have consumed any alcohol or not, you may still be the victim of a false DUI breath test. Make sure you know your rights.

This article was contributed by Jenny Kim. Jenny is a Client Manager with Price Benowitz LLP Law Firm.

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