Drinking and driving in the Hawkeye State is a bad idea. After all, operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated is a criminal offense that carries with it a steep fine and a potential jail sentence. You may also lose your driving privileges, making everyday life more complicated.
If officers suspect you had a few drinks before climbing behind the wheel, they may ask you to submit to a breathalyzer test. While refusing to comply has some consequences, you should also know that breath tests do not always give accurate results. Here are some factors that may cause a breathalyzer test to give an unreliable reading:
Your overall health
What you do after an OWI arrest matters. Before you stipulate to the accuracy of a breathalyzer test, though, you should think about your overall health. That is, certain medical conditions may cause the test to give false-positive results. If you are diabetic or have hypoglycemia, acetone buildup in your system may mislead a breathalyzer test. Further, gastrointestinal conditions, such as acid reflux and heartburn, may also trick the test into indicating you are drunk when you are not.
Low-carbohydrate diets are popular these days. While limiting the complex carbohydrates you consume may help you shed weight, it may also affect the results of a breathalyzer test. That is, when you reduce carbohydrate consumption, your body produces ketones. Ketones, in turn, produce isopropyl alcohol, which may register on a breath test, even if you have not been drinking.
Finally, certain types of gum, mints and even cigarettes can lead to false-positive breath test results. Further, if you wear cologne, alcohol from these items may produce unreliable results.
While breathalyzer tests help police officers do their jobs, they do not always produce reliable results. Accordingly, if you are facing an OWI charge, you may want to question whether something else caused a false-positive reading. Your freedom and driving privileges may depend on it.