Can Dieting Lead to DUI Arrests?
By: Gerri Elder
In the United States, where obesity is a nationwide epidemic, the weight loss industry is booming. There is no shortage of new diets and diet programs being marketed. Anyone who wants to lose weight and avoid the many serious potential health problems caused by obesity has plenty of choices.
A new report by lawyer Daniel Jaffe in the American Chronicle points out a dieting pitfall that has nothing to do with losing weight. According to Jaffe, some diets can cause legal problems.
A recent trend in dieting involves low carb intake, while including plenty of protein in food choices. Jaffe says that this type of diet plan can lead to DUI arrests and even convictions.
When a DUI suspect takes a breath test, the machine measures a group of molecular compounds in the breath sample. The problem is that the breath test machines do not always register just alcohol content.
For people who are on high protein and low carb diets, certain compounds in the breath samples can be mistaken by the breath test as alcohol. This can result in a false breath test reading for people who have not been drinking before driving, or a higher blood alcohol content reading for people who have consumed some alcohol prior to testing.
Because breath test results are often the centerpiece of DUI prosecutions, these false readings can cause innocent people to be convicted of DUI charges.
In people who are fasting, or following the Atkins diet or other severely restrictive diets, acetone can be present in the breath sample taken during a breath test. Acetone can be recorded by the breath test as alcohol content and give a false or inflated blood alcohol content reading.
When a person is suspected of DUI, the arresting officer generally has reason to believe that they are driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Simply telling an officer that a diet is to blame would not be a viable excuse for erratic driving or other conduct leading to a DUI arrest.
For people who believe their diet has caused a false blood alcohol content reading on a breath test, it may be helpful to request that a blood sample be taken.
In a blood test, acetone does not register as alcohol content and a true blood alcohol reading can be established. Therefore, in order to prove innocence in a DUI case, it may be essential that a blood sample be taken from a dieting DUI suspect as soon as possible.
At DUI trials, most prosecutors rely heavily on breath test evidence as the proven method to establish guilt and get DUI convictions. Since most people are unaware that dieting can lead to a false breath test reading, blood test results may be essential to establish innocence in some cases.