Can a medical condition lead to a DWI?

You may be surprised you are facing drunk driving charges after a recent traffic stop. You may have had only one beer or not been drinking at all, yet a breathalyzer test revealed you had a blood alcohol level of .08. Was the breathalyzer test accurate? Could something else have contributed to your blood alcohol level registering so high?

When breathalyzers aren’t accurate

First, breathalyzer tests aren’t always accurate. And second, sometimes, medical conditions can impact your breathalyzer results. You could have an inaccurate breathalyzer test if you suffer from:

  • Diabetes
  • Acid reflux
  • Kidney or liver disease

With diabetes, you could have more acetone on your breath. Higher levels of acetone can lead to a higher blood alcohol reading on a breathalyzer test. Also, if you are hypoglycemic because of diabetes, you can get dizzy or confused. Police may misread these symptoms as signs of intoxication.

If you suffer acid reflux, alcohol in your stomach may regurgitate up into your esophagus. That can lead to a breathalyzer test showing you have a blood alcohol level higher than you do. Your stomach hasn’t digested the alcohol that’s regurgitated and it isn’t in your bloodstream yet.

For sufferers of kidney or liver disease, those organs don’t function and filter blood properly. As a result, ammonia can build up in your body if you suffer from kidney or liver disease, which can trigger a misleading breathalyzer test result.

What to do when facing a DWI

If you are facing a DWI (driving while under the influence) charge and think a medical condition could have impacted your breathalyzer test, you should consult an experienced criminal defense attorney. An attorney can review the circumstances of your DWI arrest and help determine if your breathalyzer test results weren’t accurate.

You don’t want to face having your license suspended, paying hefty fines and more with a DWI conviction.  You also an inaccurate breathalyzer result to result in you having a DWI on your criminal record.

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