Many people seem to think that breath tests, also called breathalyzers, are infallible. This leads to an assumption by many that anyone who is facing a driving under the influence (DUI) charge must be guilty. Nothing could be farther from the truth. In reality, breathalyzers can and do produce false positives for a wide range of reasons. In some cases, a false positive is due to a malfunctioning unit or administration by someone who isn’t following best practices. In many other cases, medical conditions can impact the results of a breathalyzer test, making it seem like there was alcohol when there wasn’t.
If you or someone you love is facing a DUI charge or a charge of Driving While Ability is Impaired (DWAI), your best hope for a positive outcome is working with an experienced Colorado defense attorney. There may be a simple explanation, but you will need the advocacy of a lawyer if you hope to convince the courts. Whether you believe there was an issue with how the officer administered the breathalyzer test or there may be a medical cause for your failed test, you’ll need help to beat your pending DUI charges.
Several medical conditions can affect breathalyzer tests
Did you know that there’s a rare metabolic condition where bacteria living in your body can create alcohol? It’s highly unusual, but it’s called auto-brewery syndrome. For those with this condition, it’s possible for foods they eat to end up fermented into ethanol by their own digestive tract. These individuals could be under the influence of alcohol without ever having a sip. While the condition is rare, it could lead to a charge of impaired driving without you ever intentionally committing a crime.
It’s much more common for people with undiagnosed diabetes to fail a roadside breath test. Untreated diabetes can push your body into a condition known as ketoacidosis. Ketoacidosis occurs when your body doesn’t have insulin to process sugar in your blood stream, so it starts using body fat as fuel. One of the side effects when this happens is the production of acetone, which can be present in the breath. Acetone will not intoxicate you, but it will cause a false positive on a breathalyzer because it is chemically similar to alcohol. Untreated diabetes could also impact balance and cause slurred speech.
An attorney can help you explore defense options
If you have been diagnosed with diabetes shortly after your arrest or believe there is another medical issue, you need the help of an attorney. Your attorney can connect you with medical professionals who can determine if there’s a medical explanation for your failed breath test. Proving a medical issue to the courts can be complicated, so it’s best not to try it on your own.