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Thousands of people engage in a low-carb, high-protein diet to lose weight. They might not realize that the physical and psychological effects of a low-carb diet often mimic the symptoms of those under the influence of drugs or alcohol. These diets may also lead to an elevated blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level, possibly resulting in police officers arresting and charging the individual with driving under the influence (DUI).
If your low-carb diet led to a DUI, reach out to a San Diego DUI attorney who can investigate the charge and represent you in court.
What Is a Low-Carb Diet?
A low-carb diet restricts the amount of carbohydrates a person can eat in a day. People on these diets replace foods that have a high rate of carbs with foods containing more fat and protein. Once controversial, these diets have become popular in recent years thanks to their quick, yet temporary, weight loss results. Popular diets include the Ketogenic, Paleo, and Atkins diets.
Low-Carb Dieters May Show Physical Signs of Drunkenness
Those who consume few or no carbohydrates force their bodies to break down fats and other stored proteins for energy. When the body breaks down fats, the liver produces ketones, and the body is in a state of ketosis. Ketones have a similar chemical composition as isopropyl alcohol. Breathalyzers cannot distinguish isopropyl alcohol from ethyl alcohol. This can cause the device to falsely detect alcohol solely because of a low-carb diet.
It is unlikely that the amount of ketones in anyone’s breath could be enough to provide a .08% or greater blood alcohol concentration (BAC). However, someone who otherwise would have been below the legal limit may end up with a BAC at or above .08% due to excessive ketones.
When ketone levels in the blood get too high, it can lead to diabetic ketoacidosis. This is a serious condition, and drivers with it are prone to wrongful DUI arrest simply because they display symptoms similar to intoxicated people, such as:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Shortness of breath
People with diabetic ketoacidosis may also have fruity-scented breath, which police officers may mistake as alcohol.
Defenses to a DUI from a Low-Carb Diet
If you face a DUI charge because of a low-carb diet, you will need an expert witness to explain the effects these diets have on the body. They can fully explain ketones’ molecular composition and how they can create a false positive on breath testing devices.
Witnesses in the car may also be able to testify, stating that you had nothing to drink before officers pulled you over. Also, many people on low-carb diets keep a journal of everything they consume. An attorney might be able to use this as evidence that you were not drinking and driving.
Contact an Experienced DUI Attorney in California Today
California law holds a separate set of penalties for first-time offenders that gradually increase in severity for subsequent convictions. Drivers must go without a DUI violation for 10 years before the court no longer considers a previous DUI conviction. With the tiered system, DUI laws are incredibly complex and require a skilled criminal defense attorney.
In California, Dod Law is the top-source of legal representation. With more than 17 years of legal experience, Attorney Dod has worked on more than 6,500 criminal cases in the San Diego area, including over 75 jury trials and 400 preliminary hearings. When you partner with him, you can be confident he will do everything possible to obtain a favorable outcome. Schedule a free consultation with Attorney Dod today by calling 619-814-5110 or complete our online contact form.