When the food you eat tricks a Breathalyzer test

On Behalf of | May 31, 2019 | Firm News

While the results of Breathalyzer tests are not always completely reliable, it is often safe to say that the results typically somewhat reflect the blood alcohol content (BAC) level of the individual in question. However, what happens when the food you eat tricks the breath test into thinking you’ve had too much to drink?

Two recent DUI cases in Texas and Ohio detail exactly this. Some diets, including the popular keto diet, can translate into a false Breathalyzer result. Similarly, medical conditions like the rare auto-brewery syndrome can even turn carbohydrates into alcohol. While both scenarios are admittedly uncommon, what happens when you find yourself pulled over by New Jersey police yet possibly without even a drop of alcohol in your system?

A deeper dive into the keto diet and auto-brewery syndrome

The keto diet is popular among both fitness aficionados and those looking to get into shape. As a low-carb diet, when your body is in ketosis, Men’s Health explains that acetone results from the liver breaking down fat to create fuel. When some of this acetone is released through your breath, it comes out as isopropyl alcohol. Depending on the Breathalyzer used in the traffic stop, the test may not be able to distinguish between this isopropyl alcohol and ethanol alcohol.

Unlike the keto diet, auto-brewery syndrome can lead you to actually feel intoxicated and even experience side effects of intoxication, yet after consuming very little to no alcohol. Vice explains that the condition causes the intestines to convert carbohydrates into alcohol. To combat the condition and reduce fermentation in the gut, doctors often recommend a diet low in carbohydrates combined with antifungal medications.

Fighting the penalties of a DUI

After a DUI arrest, the penalties you face can seem unnecessarily steep, given the circumstances. Even a first offense in New Jersey can have harsh consequences, including:

  • Fines of up to $400
  • Up to 30 days in jail
  • A license suspension of three months or more
  • Mandatory alcohol education classes
  • Increased auto insurance rates

Fortunately, you have options to contest the charges you face to fight a conviction going on your criminal record. Facing DUI charges can be nerve-wracking in any case but especially when extraordinary circumstances led to faulty Breathalyzer results. Act swiftly, comply with all given deadlines and consider legal help to contest the charges you face.