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4 medical conditions that may interfere with a DUI breath test

On Behalf of | Oct 19, 2020 | DUI

If you have a blood alcohol concentration over 0.08%, it is a violation of law to operate a motor vehicle in Maryland. After stopping your vehicle, an officer may ask you to submit a breath sample for testing. The purpose of this test, of course, is to measure your BAC.

Unfortunately, breath test results are not always accurate. If you have any of the following four medical conditions, a testing device may erroneously believe your BAC to be above the legal limit.

1. Heartburn or GERD

If you regularly experience indigestion, you may have a hard time passing a breath test.

Heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux disease may allow undigested alcohol to travel into your esophagus. When you breathe into a testing device, the device may record the alcohol in your throat rather than the alcohol in your bloodstream.

2. Diabetes

Diabetes may cause your body to produce excessive amounts of acetone. When you provide a breath sample, the testing device may confuse acetone with alcohol. If that happens, you may find yourself in handcuffs despite being perfectly sober.

3. Kidney or liver disease

If your kidneys or liver are not functioning correctly, ammonia may accumulate in your body. Like with excess acetone, a breath test may mistake built-up ammonia for ethyl alcohol.

4. Asthma

To combat your asthma, you may use both slow-release and emergency inhalers to deliver albuterol or a steroid directly to your lungs. Your inhalers, though, likely suspend vital medication in alcohol.

This alcohol may collect in your lungs, passing into the testing device when you exhale. Regrettably, even simply using your inhaler to control your asthma may result in DUI charges.

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