Oklahoma's Oldest DUI Defense Firm

Attorneys Stephen G. Fabian Jr. and Brian P. Young

Why your breathalyzer test might be wrong

On Behalf of | Jul 6, 2021 | DUI - Drunk Driving |

Can you imagine being pulled over by law enforcement, administered a breathalyzer test, and charged with DUI when you haven’t had a drop of alcohol to drink? While it may be unthinkable to most, these situations do occur. In Oklahoma, there are applied consent laws that state that if you choose to operate a vehicle on their roads, you automatically consent to having your blood alcohol content tested should you be pulled over by law enforcement. This means that you are not able to lawfully refuse a breathalyzer test.

In fact, the state has just authorized a $300,000 pilot program to use a breathalyzer test for THC. However, these tests can be wrong and are often the deciding factor in drivers being falsely charged with a DUI.

How can a breathalyzer be wrong?

If your breath smells like acetone, you could have high levels of acids produced by your liver called ketones. Acetone is a liquid solvent used to clean products, and nail polish remover is said to have the same smell as acetone. Acetone can also be produced by high levels of ketones in the body.

High levels of ketones in your body can cause you to fail a breathalyzer test and be charged with a DUI. Acetone, or ketones, are common in the human body, and certain circumstances can increase their levels to very high amounts.

Causes of increased acetone levels in the body

Hypoglycemia can cause increased levels of acetone. It can also cause dizziness, jitters and confusion. All of these things added together could present a false case of DUI.

Even something as simple as eating a low-carbohydrate diet can cause elevated levels of acetone. Reducing carbohydrates reduces the level of glucose. The body increases the number of ketones to compensate for the reduced glucose level, resulting in a higher presence of acetone.

How to handle an incorrect breathalyzer

If you have been charged with a DUI as the result of a failed breathalyzer, do not admit guilt and do not offer any more information than requested from law enforcement. If you are not immediately arrested, go directly to your doctor or an urgent care facility that could test you for hypoglycemia or evidence of increased ketones. Consulting an experienced DUI attorney could also help to take care of the false charges and make the whole incident go away.