Welcome back and thanks for joining us again for this discussion about BAC results in Michigan drunk driving cases, and the fact that they’re not as infallible as people often believe. As we pointed out in part 1 of this 2 part series, there are numerous things that can influence your breath test results, including medications, foods, and even your diet. We’ve discussed medications already, and now we’ll be looking at the other items on the list. Stick with us – it’s a really interesting list!
Items that can cause a false positive BAC reading:
If you’re off to meet that someone special, and you took the time to neaten up and freshen your breath, your efforts may net you a false positive BAC reading. The alcohol in mouthwash is considerably higher than you’d believe, and if you’ve already had a drink but are under the limit, mouthwash can knock you over the edge, making you appear more intoxicated than you really are.
Surprisingly, smoking cigarettes can result in a false positive. This is because many breath testing machines falsely report acetaldehyde as alcohol. Acetaldehyde is produced during the metabolism of alcohol, but also appears in higher concentrations in the lungs of smokers, which could affect your BAC reading, making your blood alcohol level look higher than it is.
Believe it or not, what you eat (or don’t eat) can affect your BAC reading. If you’re on a low carbohydrate diet, your glucose levels may already be low. Even a small quantity of alcohol can stop the production of glucose, leading to low blood sugar and the production of acetone, which can be falsely read as alcohol by some breath tests. The same is true is you haven’t eaten in a while and your blood sugar level is low.
Certain medical conditions:
Diabetes: There are often high concentrations of acetone found in the breath of diabetics, due to the breakdown of fats rather than glucose. The levels observed can sometimes be as much as 1000 times higher than in a non-diabetic patient. In reality, these elevated concentrations cause very little response in a fuel cell, but that isn’t the case with a breath test, which would produce a significantly higher response.
Acid Reflux: If you suffer from acid reflux, and have experienced an episode shortly before being pulled over, then amount of alcohol on your breath will be higher due to alcohol from the stomach being “burped” back up into your mouth. This could cause your BAC reading to be higher than it actually is.
Hypoglycemia: Although there is no symptom of hypoglycemia that would affect your BAC, we wanted to include it here because the symptoms are sometimes very similar to intoxication. Dizziness, clumsiness and confusion are all common for patients suffering from acute hypoglycemia, and that can sometimes be mistaken for drunkenness by a police officer!
Have you been accused of drunk driving in Michigan?
If you or a loved one have been pulled over and accused of drunk driving in Michigan, and you think your breath test result was affected by something other than your alcohol intake, contact us immediately at 866 766 5245 (866 7No Jail). Our skilled DUI defense attorneys are standing by 24/7 to help you deal with this crisis. We’ve been handling drunk driving cases in the lower half of Michigan’s lower peninsula for decades, and we can help you too!