People in Missouri who submit a breath test that shows they have a blood alcohol content that is above the legal limit might want to ask to be taken to the police station if they know they are not drunk. Most of the portable devices carried by law enforcement use fuel cell technology, and certain conditions may cause them to report a person as erroneously having a high blood alcohol content. Devices using infrared spectroscopy, which are usually available at the police station, can give a more accurate reading. People can also request a blood test.
A Texas attorney got DUI charges against his client dropped on the grounds that the client was in ketosis. Ketosis is caused from a low-carb diet, and it causes the liver to generate acetone. This substance may be released as isopropyl alcohol as a person breathes. The attorney says the fuel cells in portable breath tests read isopropyl and ethanol alcohol in the same way. According to one study published in 2006, a man who was on a low-carb diet couldn't start his employer's car, which required a breath test to unlock the ignition. It also used fuel cells.
Other conditions that can cause a person to breathe isopropyl alcohol are GERD and diabetes. However, test manufacturers claim that their products can tell the difference between the two kinds of alcohol.
The penalties for a DUI vary depending on whether it is a first-time conviction, but they may include fines, jail time, attending a program on alcohol safety and installing an ignition interlock device on the car. There may be several avenues of defense available for individuals who are facing DUI-related charges. In addition to checking the accuracy of the breath test, an attorney might also investigate whether a person's rights were violated at any point or question the accuracy of officers' accounts.