In the American justice system, those accused of a crime have a presumption of innocence. People should assume anyone facing charges is innocent until a court of law finds them guilty. Unfortunately, people don’t always treat those accused of a crime as though they were innocent.
Especially for crimes like driving while intoxicated (DWI), people tend to assume that someone is guilty if they get charged. Public understanding about field sobriety tests and chemical breath testing might mislead the average person into the inaccurate assumption that anyone charged with a DWI has conclusive evidence against them.
In reality, many people charged with DWIs are victims of bad test administration, faulty testing units or incorrect assumptions on the part of law enforcement. There are many scenarios in which an innocent person can face a DWI. In fact, there are medical conditions that might even fool police officers and chemical tests.
Blood sugar issues could cause weird behavior and a failed breath test
If someone has diabetes but doesn’t know it, they might have uncontrolled blood sugar issues. If they get pulled over by police, their behavior might seem strange because of their blood sugar level. In fact, if they are in a state of ketoacidosis, they can fail the chemical breath test because of chemical by-products in their breath.
Not only could those with undiagnosed type 2 diabetes wind up unfairly charged with a DWI, but those strictly adhering to the keto diet or similar diets could find themselves in the same position.
Asthma medication might affect a breath test as well
Testing exhaled air has many problematic limitations, such as the inability to differentiate between chemicals there because of natural physical processes or prescription medicine and actual alcohol in the bloodstream. Those who use inhalers for asthma could potentially have a false positive on a breath test because of their asthma medication.
There are other conditions that might also impact the likelihood of you getting arrested for a DWI. Certain kinds of gastric conditions, like acid reflux, might impact the accuracy of a chemical breath test. Over-the-counter medications and prescription drugs could impact the test. Even neurological conditions that affect balance or speech might look like drunkenness to a police officer.
If you think that you may have a medical defense for a pending DWI, you will likely need to start strategizing for your defense now.