Pre-Existing Medical Conditions That Can Affect DUI Breath Tests

Medical Conditions That Can Influence The Result Of a Breathalyzer Test

Our Zero Down Arizona DUI Lawyers take a look at how some pre-existing medical conditions can impact Breath Tests that may be administered by police officers and law enforcement officials when arresting individuals for DUI or DWI in Arizona.

A DUI is a serious conviction to receive in Arizona. Most DUI charges are misdemeanors, but you can also be charged with Aggravated DUI, which is a felony. But not everyone charged with a DUI is guilty. Some people may have medical conditions that can cause a false positive on DUI breath tests. If you have been charged with DUI in Arizona, you will need to prove to the court that you have this condition and that you weren’t actually intoxicated at the time of the arrest. An Arizona Drunk Driving Lawyer may be able to spare you all the negative consequences you will face after a DUI conviction. If you’re facing DUI charges in Arizona, call or use our online form to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced defense attorneys today.

Medical Conditions That Can Influence The Result Of a Breathalyzer Test In Mesa,AZ

Arizona DUI & Breathalyzer Information

You need to understand the severity of DUI charges in Arizona. Arizona has some of the strictest DUI laws in the nation. In Arizona, you will need to spend at least one day in jail after a DUI conviction, even if you have nothing else on your criminal record. You will also face thousands in fines and court costs, traffic school, community service, license restrictions, ignition interlock device usage, increased auto insurance rates, and more. You will have the choice between representing yourself, being represented by a court-appointed public defender, or hiring your own private defense attorney.

While you can be arrested for driving while under the influence of any substance that impairs your driving ability, DUI charges are also categorized by how much alcohol is in your system. You are presumed to be intoxicated if you have a BAC, or blood alcohol content, of .08 or higher. However, a police officer can still arrest you if you seem to be intoxicated and your BAC is between .04 and .079. This would be charged as a DUI. Which is; impaired to the slightest degree. Your charges will also be increased for higher BAC levels. If you are arrested while driving with a BAC of .15 to .19, you will be charged with Extreme DUI, which is a misdemeanor. If your BAC is .20 or higher when you are arrested, you will be charged with Super Extreme DUI, which is also a misdemeanor. Driving under the influence with a child in the vehicle and certain other factors will increase your charges to Aggravated DUI, which is a felony.

Confirming BAC Results

While your BAC results will usually be confirmed by a blood or urine test, you can be arrested for failing a breathalyzer test alone. You can refuse to take a preliminary breath test, which is a form of field sobriety testing, but it isn’t recommended refusing a breathalyzer test. If you do, your driver’s license will automatically be suspended for one year unless you can prove why it shouldn’t be at a separate administrative hearing.

Medical Conditions That Can Affect a Breathalyzer Reading

After being charged with a DUI, you should be looking for every possible defense relevant to your case. Your constitutional rights could have been violated, or there may have been errors in your field sobriety testing. You could also have a medical condition that causes a false breathalyzer reading. Most of these medical conditions are either digestive disorders or disorders involving blood sugar levels. However, if you were arrested for driving with a BAC that was much higher than expected for how much you drank and how sober you felt, and you have any type of medical condition, you should speak with your doctor to see if it could affect breathalyzer test results in any way.

Digestive Disorders

Heartburn, Acid Reflux Disease, & Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

These types of conditions cause the contents of the stomach to backflow into the person’s mouth. This can impact the amount of mouth alcohol in the mouth’s mucosal linings. It will dissolve much slower than the average person’s mouth. Breathalyzers are designed to measure deep lung air. Often, police officers even wait before conducting a breath test to let mouth alcohol burn off- but this reading can be distorted when someone has GERD or a similar condition that slows the dissolution of mouth alcohol. If you believe your BAC was inflated due to a digestive disorder, you should discuss your defense strategy with an experienced Gilbert DUI attorney.

Hiatal Hernia

A hiatal hernia occurs when a portion of the stomach protrudes over a person’s diaphragm. The symptoms of a hiatal hernia are actually similar to GERD. When stomach contents like undigested food are being pushed up, it can affect a breathalyzer reading. If your stomach issues are undiagnosed, you should try to see a doctor as soon as possible after a DUI arrest. This kind of defense may help you get your charges reduced, or even dropped. A Phoenix DUI attorney can help guide you through the steps you will need to take to strengthen your defense based on a hiatal hernia and other digestive disorders.

Blood Sugar Conditions

Certain Diets

Two of the most popular diets right now are keto and intermittent fasting. Keto dieting involves eating almost no carbohydrates and instead focusing on eating high levels of protein. Intermittent fasting involves eating during controlled times, making sure that there are prolonged periods of avoiding food, or fasting. While these diets and other diets that involve high protein and fasting can be great for your waistline, they could be actually causing a stir in your blood sugar levels. The effects from a diet on a breathalyzer test may not be severe as other pre-existing conditions, but this may be a possible defense if you have been charged with DUI in Arizona.


People with diabetes are prone to becoming hypoglycemic, or suffer bouts of low blood sugar. First, the symptoms of hypoglycemia can appear like symptoms of intoxication. These include drowsiness, slurred speech, confusion, shaking, sweating, and jerky movements. This can cause a police officer to be suspicious that you are driving while under the influence. Another potential issue is ketosis. Ketosis occurs when your body burns fat instead of carbohydrates and produces ketones. It can also produce isopropyl alcohol. Ketones and isopropyl excreted in the breath can tamper with your breathalyzer results. They can also tamper with the results of a urine test. If you have been charged with DUI and have diabetes, you should discuss the possibility of using this as a defense with a defense attorney.

Contact An Arizona DUI Lawyer Near Me

If you’ve been arrested for DUI, you can’t ignore the possibility that any of your medical conditions could have tampered with the breathalyzer results. Your BAC could have been inflated over the legal limit even though you weren’t actually intoxicated. Successfully proving your BAC reading was distorted by a pre-existing medical condition could get the charges against you reduced or dropped. If you need help formulating your defense against Arizona DUI charges, be it Marijuana DUI, DUI for Drugs, DUI, Extreme DUI, or Super Extreme DUI; you should consider hiring a high quality, low cost private defense attorney. Our DUI attorneys and legal defense team at Arizona Zero Down DUI has decades of DUI experience, and can help you achieve the best possible outcome in your specific situation. To learn more, and to receive an affordable quote and payment plan for DUI defense representation, call or use our online form to request your free case evaluation today.


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Mesa, AZ 85202

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Phoenix, AZ 85003

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