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Health conditions and food can cause false positive on a DUI test

On Behalf of | Jun 3, 2022 | DUIs

If a Minnesota police officer pulls you over in traffic, the next few minutes of your life may be a bit unsettling. If you were driving down a highway at excessive speeds, moments before the patrol lights started flashing, you can make an educated guess as to the possible reason for the traffic stop.

If the reason happens to be that the officer claims to have witnessed your tires crossing over the yellow line or your vehicle weaving in its lane, then he or she might suspect you of DUI. Even so, it’s possible to be suspected of DUI without being guilty of it. In fact, there are several health conditions and foods that can cause a false positive on a preliminary alcohol screening breath test.

Be aware that diabetes-induced acetone can register as alcohol on a breath test

If you’re a diabetic, you no doubt understand how challenging it can be to keep your blood sugar levels under control. What you may not realize, however, is that your condition can also cause you to have high levels of acetone on your breath, which, in turn, can register as alcohol if you take a roadside breath test during a traffic stop.

Surprisingly, if you have a heart condition, it might also spark a false positive for alcohol on a breath test. This is because various health conditions, especially those associated with heart disease, can elevate your blood alcohol content (BAC) level. When you take a breath test, the device is simply programmed to detect alcohol on your breath. If you have an elevated BAC level, it causes changes in your breath. The testing device might detect those changes and register positive for alcohol.

Do you eat cinnamon rolls or fermented foods?

Cinnamon rolls and other pastries create a low volume of alcohol in your body when you eat them. A breath test device cannot identify the source of alcohol on your breath, only that there is alcohol is detectable. If you eat pastries, then get pulled over in a traffic stop and take a breath test, the results could turn out positive.

In addition to pastries or foods containing yeast, fermented foods, such as ripened fruit or sauerkraut, etc., can also trigger a positive result on a preliminary alcohol breath screening test. Two additional products that can cause false positives are sugar-free chewing gum and hot sauce.

Navigating the criminal justice system when facing DUI charges

If a Minnesota police officer takes you into custody for suspected DUI and you’re 100% certain you didn’t consume alcohol, it’s always best to remain calm, cooperate, then take steps to rectify the situation as due process takes place. It’s never a good idea to argue with a police officer during a traffic stop or refuse to cooperate because such behavior could wind up making matters worse.

Even if you did consume an alcoholic beverage before getting behind the wheel to drive, it doesn’t necessarily mean you operated the vehicle illegally. There may be several defense strategy options available to you to help mitigate your circumstances. Knowing your rights and how to defend them in court is critical to increasing your chances of achieving a positive outcome.