Each year, drivers across the country, including many here in Michigan, find themselves pulled over by police on suspicion of drunk driving. Police officers request those drivers participate in roadside breath tests, and at least some of them will end up under arrest on suspicion of DUI. The problem is that the machines used on the side of road can give false results due to certain medical conditions and foods.
For instance, those who suffer from diabetes often have a significant amount of acetone on their breath due to their condition. When they participate in a roadside breath test, it can give a false reading that leads to an arrest. The same could happen to individuals suffering from heart disease or acid reflux.
While it may surprise people that a medical condition could cause a false positive on a breath test, it may not be quite as surprising to discover that certain foods can do the same thing. If an individual eats enough fermented foods, it could cause a false positive as well. Foods containing yeast may also increase the likelihood of an incorrect breath test result. For this reason, many courts will not even allow prosecutors to introduce the results of a roadside breath test into evidence.
Drivers who end up facing DUI charges due to roadside breath tests may not want to simply accept the consequences of a conviction. The results of those tests are unreliable and should not necessarily be taken at face value. In fact, if an individual has the chance, it would be a good idea not to participate in this particular test. Doing so does not constitute a crime in Michigan (but might result in a civil fine); however, refusing to participate in a chemical evidentiary test at the police station or jail would likely be a violation of the state’s implied consent law. Individuals cannot be arrested for refusing to participate in a roadside breath test, but that does not mean they will not face DUI charges based on other evidence.