Many people treat breath testing and field sobriety tests as infallible means of gauging someone’s chemical intoxication. However, chemical breath tests and field sobriety tests can provide misleading or inaccurate results.
Sometimes, the person administering the test makes mistakes. Other times, there may be issues with the device used that compromise the accuracy of the results produced. The person performing the test could also have medical issues that impact the accuracy of the tests.
If you failed a breath test or field sobriety test and have one of the three medical conditions below, your medical history might play a role in your defense strategy.
Severe anxiety or similar mental health issues
Individuals who become highly anxious in certain scenarios might panic during an interaction with law enforcement officers, behaving in ways that the officers find suspicious solely because of their internal feeling of nervousness.
Anxiety can make people so self-conscious that they performed poorly on field sobriety tests or make verbal missteps that seem to implicate them in a conversation with police officers. They may say whatever they think the officers want to hear rather than advocating for themselves, which might lead to trouble.
The issues people experience with their breath don’t necessarily compromise their performance on a field sobriety test, but the medication they use could affect the accuracy of a chemical breath test. Certain kinds of asthma inhalers have affected chemical breath tests in scientific studies and caused false positive readings. Those who have recently used an asthma inhaler before driving could fail breath test in some circumstances.
Diabetes or hypoglycemia
Individuals who experience frequent fluctuations in blood sugar, especially those who do not have their diabetes under control, could experience the state of ketoacidosis. The same is true of individuals on diets intended to intentionally put the body in this abnormal physical condition.
When your body is in a state of ketoacidosis, it burns fat and creates numerous chemical byproducts, including acetone. You release that acetone through your lungs when you exhale, which means that those experiencing ketoacidosis can fail a breath test.
Learning more about drunk driving defense options, including medical defenses, can help those facing impaired driving charges.