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Diabetes Can Effect Breath Test Results

Diabetes Can Effect Chemical Testing in a DUI Case

Sometimes, a person who gets a DUI gets a surprising result due to their diabetes (Diabetes Mellitus) when taking a breath test.  If you are dealing with a drunk driving charge, make sure to let your criminal defense lawyer know.  However, sometimes a DUI Defendant doesn't even know they had diabetes.  Have they experienced any of the basic symptoms such as increased thirst, hunger, or urination?  About 30 million Americans have been diagnosed with diabetes.  Plus, there is an estimated 10 million who have diabetes but it has not yet been diagnosed.

When a person has diabetes, they produce high blood sugar levels because their pancreas isn’t producing enough insulin to handle the sugar in their system, or their body isn’t able to effectively deal with the insulin being produced.  The main types, usually are Type 1, Type 2, Gestational and pre-diabetes.  Type 1 is when there is an insulin deficiency.  Type 2, which is the most common, is when the body resists the insulin.  Gestational is when during a pregnancy high blood-glucose levels occur.  Prediabetes is when a person’s blood glucose is high but not yet to the levels of Type 2.  The pancreas produces insulin, which is then used to remove unneeded glucose.  If the glucose isn’t removed, it becomes especially hard on the body.

When a person has diabetes, it lessens the natural production of insulin, which in turn can cause different results in breath testing.  Why does diabetes effect breath tests results?  Because breath testing assumes that the person being tested is an “average person” providing an “average breath sample.”  It simply cannot and does not take into effect abnormalities like diabetes.  So, when the breath sample is analyzed and then converted into “BrAC” numbers, it converts using an “average person’s” numbers and not the actual person being tested numbers.  Actually, this raises scientific problems across the board for breath tests as all people are different, much less those that have diabetes.  When you add to the fact that a person has diabetes, it is simply unfair to assume that they are an “average person” for whom “average numbers” should be used when doing the mathematical conversions on a breath machine like the one used in Kansas, the Intoxilyzer 9000.

As a DUI defense attorney, I have seen that not only can diabetes effect the breath test results, but it can cause a person to fails field sobriety tests.

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