Diabetes and Breath Test Reliability

Posted by Richard Lawson | Aug 26, 2010 | 0 Comments

Diabetics commonly experience hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels). And what are the symptoms? Slow and slurred speech, poor balance, impaired motor control, staggering, drowsiness, flushed face, disorientation -- in other words, the classic symptoms of alcohol intoxication. This individual will look and act like a drunk driver to the officer, and will certainly fail any DUI "field sobriety tests."

Breath testing machines, such as the Intoxilyzer 5000, suffer from a little-known design defect: they do not actually measure alcohol!  Rather, they use infrared beams of light which are absorbed by any chemical compound (including ethyl alcohol) in the breath which contains the "methyl group" in its molecular structure; the more absorption, the higher the blood-alcohol reading. The machine is programmed to assume that the compound is "probably" alcohol. Unfortunately, thousands of compounds containing the methyl group can register as alcohol. One of these is "acetone." And a well-documented by-product of hypoglycemia is a state called "ketoacidosis," which causes the production of acetones in the breath. In other words, the Intoxilyzer 5000 will read significant levels of alcohol on a diabetic's breath where there may be little or none.  Call the Law Offices of Richard S Lawson if your arrest is from the result of a faulty breath test. 

About the Author

Richard Lawson

Richard S. Lawson is passionate about intoxicated driving defense. Unlike some attorneys, Mr. Lawson devotes 100% of his legal practice to helping people stand up for their rights against DUI charges. For more than 20 years, Mr. Lawson has dutifully fought for his clients' freedom, resolving more 4,900 impaired driving cases during the course of his career. Today, Mr. Lawson has developed a reputation as a skilled negotiator and continues to help clients by fighting to keep them out of jail.


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