Failed A San Jose DUI Breathalyzer Test? It May Not Have Been Alcohol!

San Jose DUI Lawyer Explains Breathalyzer Errors

As someone who recently failed a breathalyzer test for driving under the influence in San Jose, you are probably feeling ashamed, humiliated, and terrified about the potential legal consequences.

Even if you didn’t cause any damage or hurt anyone – and thus you cannot be subjected to punishments per California Vehicle Code section 23153(a) or 23153(b) – you no doubt fear going to jail, having your license stripped, and paying potentially thousands of dollars in fines and fees (and that’s the tip of the iceberg).

On the other hand, you may be prematurely judging yourself as “guilty.”

In fact, a surprising amount of research suggests that many breathalyzer tests for Santa Clara County DUI and DUI elsewhere, can be flawed and potentially extremely misleading. A variety of factors can lead to false positives. For instance, if you are diabetic, you may wind up in a pathological metabolic state known as ketoacidosis, in which you produce compounds known as ketones; these can cause a “positive” to register on a San Jose DUI breath test.

A similar “skewing towards the DUI positive” can happen if you’re on a restricted carbohydrate diet. Low carb dieters often enter a metabolic state known as ketosis, during which they produce similar compounds to the compounds that diabetics produce when they are in ketoacidosis. In fact, one of the big (and misguided) criticisms of low-carb diets has to do with confusion over healthy ketosis and unhealthy ketoacidosis. These are actually two very different metabolic states.

Getting back to the point… many different things can throw off a breathalyzer reading, including what you have recently eaten, how the officer calibrated the machine, how deeply you blow into the machine, and so forth.

Sometimes people do really weird things that can ALSO influence BAC readings.

Consider, for instance, a crazy story reported out of Middletown, Connecticut, where a local woman nearly crashed her car on October 5th after losing control. Local police put her through the paces of a field sobriety test and also gave her a blood alcohol test. They found that she had a BAC of 0.17% — which, is over twice the legal limit for DUI here in California, per CVC 23152(b).

What’s interesting about this woman is that she drank half a bottle of hand sanitizer before getting behind the wheel.

You read that right: half a bottle of hand sanitizer. Yikes!

According to reports, the amount of alcohol she consumed was equal to 32 shots of vodka. No wonder she had a BAC of 0.17%! One wonders whether the woman suffered from a condition known as Pica, which is a disorder characterized by a craving to eat non-food items, such as sand, dirt, plastic, metal, and all sorts of other crazy stuff.

In any event, if you need help dealing with your San Jose DUI case, get in touch with attorney Nick Cvietkovich today to set up a free and thorough case consultation.

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