Can Low-Carb Diets Yield False Positives During a San Diego DUI Test?

Low-carbohydrate / high-protein Atkins-style diets can yield false positives during a California DUI breath test

An experienced DUI lawyer is required when dealing with false positives during a DUI breath test. If you believe you are the victim of a false positive, call Ozols Law Firm today for a free consultation.

When individuals are not taking in the proper amount of carbs into their body, the body will then produce ketones, which is what the body will rely on for energy. Ketones are something that create isopropyl alcohol which mimics the effect of ethyl alcohol, which is the alcohol we drink. 

This same effect is created with someone with diabetes. Now these breath tests are actually tests that use lasers to measure the amount of “alcohol” in your body or essentially in your breath. They then use those calculations to make an assumption on what level of alcohol you had in your blood.

When the body is producing its own organic alcohol, this is called “ketosis” and this is a problem for breath tests because they cannot determine which alcohol is which. Studies have shown that on a low carb diet, one can actually have a blood alcohol range from a 0.01 to a 0.02 without drinking ANY alcohol at all. 

Regarding Diabetes, there is even another issue as well. California Vehicle Code 23152 (a) (VC 23152 (a)) is “driving under the influence”. Here, the prosecutor uses your objective signs and symptoms after driving to prove they you were under the influence of alcohol. The problem is, people with Diabetes who have not taken their proper medication to correct the problem, or who have had a fluctuation in their recent blood sugar levels, can mimic the signs of intoxication. 

Diabetes can create slow slurred speech, red watery eyes and a very lethargic movement sequence, which would drastically affect field sobriety tests. This is called “ketoacidosis.” These tests are just tests and like every other facet in life they have error. A 0.08 may not really be a 0.08. No test is ever perfect and it is the job of a skilled defense attorney to prove this.