Rosenblum Schwartz & Fry

Your diet might cause a false positive on a breathalyzer

Once you decided to start a low-calorie diet, you thought only of the positives and the outcome you were trying to achieve. When a Saint Louis police officer pulled you over and you tested positive for alcohol on a breathalyzer, you never thought your diet might have contributed to your subsequent arrest and driving while intoxicated charge.

Many people decide to switch to very low-calorie diets when they are trying to lose weight. Generally, when following this kind of diet, people tend to consume essential proteins and fats but very little to no carbohydrates. This causes fat to become your primary energy source. When this occurs, the diet falls into the ketogenic category.

What is a ketogenic diet?

In a ketogenic diet, ketone bodies, such as acetone, increase in the blood. Since acetone is a product of the metabolic process, it becomes more prevalent on the breath and in the urine while you follow a low-calorie diet. Nutritionists and doctors that oversee these kinds of diets actually measure the amount of acetone on the breath to make sure patients are adhering to the program.

While the weight loss is great, some of the other effects can be problematic. For example, people that have to use an alcohol ignition interlock device might blow a false positive due to the high levels of acetone on the breath. The same holds true for field sobriety breathalyzer tests. The devices that law enforcement use to test for the presence of alcohol by measuring ethanol.

These devices can register false positives because, as the acetone breaks down, another chemical, isopropanol, is produced. Ethanol and isopropanol are indistinguishable to a breathalyzer. This means that if you are on a low-calorie diet and failed a breathalyzer test while sober, it could be due to the presence of isopropanol.

While fighting back against a driving under the influence (DUI) charge can be very difficult, it is possible. Your attorney will be able to help you prepare a defense and present your case in court. From a lack of evidence to an improper stop by the police officer, there are a number of arguments available to present to the court. With the right representation, you may be able to prove the results of the breathalyzer were a false positive and avoid a DUI on your record. If you have been charged with a DUI, it is important to remember that you have rights and options.

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Rosenblum Schwartz & Fry

120 South Central Avenue
Suite 130
Saint Louis, MO 63105

Phone: 314-499-1424
Fax: 314-862-8050
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