Your Keto Diet May Spell Trouble with the Breathalyzer

Taking care of your body is important. Maintaining the proper diet and exercise regime can help you feel physically and mentally fit.

The keto diet is popular for several reasons. Do you know what this diet does to your body and how it may affect you on the road? The keto diet may trip you up during a traffic stop. If an officer believes you are under the influence and asks you to take a breathalyzer, the keto diet may wind up landing you in jail.

Keto diet basics

People who abide by a keto lifestyle eliminate almost all carbohydrates from their diet. It encourages people to eat a higher amount of fat in place of carbs. In many ways, it is like other diets that abide by the belief that more fat, not less, makes the body more efficient. Doing this regularly puts the body in ketosis, forcing the liver to transform the fat into energy. It aids in weight loss and controls conditions like diabetes, as keto forces insulin and blood sugar to drop.

Effect on a breathalyzer

How can a diet designed to help the body hurts breathalyzer results? When the liver breaks down fat into ketones, it creates and expels acetone. One of the ways the body sheds the acetone is through the breath. When it comes out this way, it is very similar to ethanol alcohol. Standard breathalyzers may detect this isopropyl alcohol byproduct and believe it detects an alcoholic beverage, resulting in a false BAC reading.

Disproving the positive

Arguing with breathalyzer results on the scene may prove difficult. Because keto is a popular diet, law enforcement agencies throughout Missouri are familiar with a possible false positive. If you do not have any other signs of impairment, such as slurred speech, eye nystagmus or difficulty walking, you have a better case.

Maintaining a healthy diet should not mean you run the risk of a DWI charge. Speaking to an attorney with experience in this type of defense work may help get your faulty breathalyzer results thrown out.

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Defenses to Drunk Driving

A motorist in Springfield, Missouri charged with a DUI or DWI (the actual charge commonly referred to as “drunk driving”) has a few different options when it comes to mounting a defense. Some affirmative defenses exist in very rare circumstances, even when the evidence otherwise supports the charge. But it’s more common to defend against a drunk driving charge by attacking the officer’s observations of what happened prior to the arrest or challenging the integrity of the evidence, such as the accuracy of a breathalyzer test. State DUI laws differ and everyone’s case has different facts, so it may help to consult with a lawyer.

Affirmative Defenses to DWI and/or DUI Charges

1. Necessity – When a person must drive to prevent a greater evil. The driver must prove that he or she had no other options and that the “greater evil” they wished to avoid was more serious than the potential harm caused by a DUI.

2. Duress – When the defendant drives in order to avoid serious injury or death, he or she is doing so under duress. For example, someone forces an intoxicated person to drive by threat of force.

3. Entrapment – When an officer somehow encourages a motorist to become intoxicated or drive while under the influence, it is referred to as entrapment. The defendant must also be able to prove that he or she would not have been predisposed to drive drunk if not for the alleged entrapment.

4. Mistake of Fact – When a person has an honest belief that he or she is not intoxicated. For example, having a valid reason to believe that the impairing effect of one’s prescription medication has worn off.

5. Involuntary Intoxication – When a person has ingested alcohol without his or her knowledge. For example, if the punchbowl at a party was “spiked” with an otherwise unrecognizable quantity of liquor.

Common Drunk Driving Defenses

1. Improper Stop – This is one of the most common arguments used by defense attorneys in DUI cases, and involves the claim that the officer lacked probable cause to make the initial traffic stop.

2. Administration / Accuracy of Field Sobriety Test – An arrest may be ruled improper if it was based on an improperly administered field sobriety test or inaccurate results. The horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) test, which detects eye movements often associated with intoxication, is frequently challenged.

3. Administration / Accuracy of Portable Breathalyzer Test – The attorney may challenge the administration of the breathalyzer test used at the scene (i.e. was the officer properly trained?) or whether there were intervening factors such as vomiting or indigestion. Also, the defense may question whether the breath test device was properly calibrated and maintained.

4. Administration / Accuracy of Standard Breathalyzer Test – Similar defense to #3, but pertaining to the more accurate breath test devices used at the police station after an arrest is made.

5. Administration / Chain of Custody of Blood Test – This defense raises questions about the administration of a blood test and/or whether it was tampered with or otherwise mishandled in the chain of custody.

6. Rising Blood Alcohol Concentration – Defense claims the BAC was below the legal limit while the defendant was driving but actually increased between the time of the traffic stop and the administration of the breath test. This is possible when recently consumed alcohol has yet to fully absorb into the system until the time of the BAC test.

Other, Less Common Defenses

1. Accused was not the Driver – Questions may arise over whether the person charged with the DUI actually was driving at the time. Perhaps the passenger, believing he or she was sober, switched places with the driver but failed a sobriety or breath test.

2. Improper Police Actions – This defense may include evidence and/or testimony that the officer violated the defendant’s civil rights, faked a DUI report or otherwise acted improperly.

An Attorney Can Help Argue Your Defenses to a Drunk Driving Charge

Even if you think you may have been at least a little inebriated when you were pulled over and arrested for driving under the influence, you still have the right to a defense. In order to protect your rights and get the best outcome possible, it’s in your best interests to contact a legal professional. Contact The Law Office of Adam Woody today at 417-720-4800.

 

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Choose a Designated Driver Before Going Out

Hockey season in full swing and baseball season is just around the corner. All of these events call for time spent with friends between bars, stadiums and homes. Before you attend a sporting event, no matter where, you should know who your designated driver is.

Your chances of getting pulled over for a DWI around Springfield increase during major sporting events. If you think you can kick back a couple of cold ones without garnering a DWI charge, think again.

 

Police use checkpoints

Police often place barricaded checkpoints around the area, especially during live sporting events and alcohol-heavy holidays such as Memorial Day. These allow them to stop all traffic and conduct license checks and physical examination of the driver and occupants without probable cause. The checkpoints do not typically spring up in the same spots to keep people from re-routing to avoid them. If you encounter a DWI checkpoint, prepare yourself for the following:

  • Mandatory stop
  • License and insurance check
  • K-9s conducting drug inspections on the perimeter of the car

Keep in mind the police have developed skills through their years of experience that assist in detecting the signs of intoxication. Even if you believe you can operate a vehicle without hazard, a police officer may find evidence to the contrary.

 

Expect a breath test

If a police officer believes you have consumed alcoholic beverages, a breath test will establish just how much remains in your system. When you got your Missouri license, you gave something called implied consent to submit to a breath or blood test at the request of law enforcement. If you do not comply with the request, you may lose your license until you go to court.

Before setting out on any venture that involves alcohol, decide who will take charge of the keys. Just a few drinks may result in serious DWI charges or worse: an accident.

 

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Parents: 3 Ways You Can Challenge Your Teen’s DWI/DUI

The last thing you ever expected was to get a call from the police station stating that your child had been arrested for driving drunk. Your teen isn’t even old enough to drink. A DUI can impact your child now and in the future, so it’s important to understand how to fight against the charges. There are a few different methods, each of which has the potential to have the case dismissed.

1. Your child is innocent and the breathalyzer was wrong

If your teen is adamant about the fact that he or she did not drink or that he or she only had a drink with dinner with family, it’s important to question the test results.

One complaint about breathalyzers is that they have the potential to be incorrect. For example, if your teen burped while taking the test, the officer should have thrown out the results. Why? Burping releases more alcohol from the lungs, which skews the test. The officer may request two breath samples. If so, they should match or be very close to one another. If they are not, then the Breathalyzer wasn’t calibrated correctly.

2. The officer stopped your child illegally

An officer must have just cause for stopping a vehicle. For example, if your child was speeding, then asking the teen to pull over is legal. However, if your child was doing nothing wrong and was pulled over, the officer did not have the right to that stop. That fact could have the case thrown out in court.

Here’s another example. If your child was driving home and pulled out of a bar’s parking lot, that in itself isn’t enough reason for a cop to pull over your teen. The officer might suspect that your teen had been drinking, but if your teen has broken no laws, then the officer has no right to make a stop.

3. The tests were taken illegally

Another thing you can contest is if the officer sought a blood test illegally. Blood tests are not the same as breath tests and require a warrant. They are more invasive, since a needle must be used to collect the sample. Officers have the right to ask for a breath sample, but if they want a blood sample, a warrant must be issued.

These are just a few potential defenses for your child’s case. Your attorney has more information on the defenses that you can use to protect your teen against a DUI charge.

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Even a first-time DUI can ruin your future

Even for a first-time offender, a DUI arrest can have lasting effects for years to come. While it does not seem fair that a choice you made when you were 20 can affect you well into your 40s and 50s, the truth is that your choices now have a direct impact on where you end up in the future.
This fact highlights the importance of not only staying off the road when you are drunk, but also being aware of the local laws regarding blood alcohol limits and knowing where to turn when you do find yourself in a predicament.
Long-term effects of a DUI can include the following.
It will show up in a background check
Most employers do a background check before choosing from a possible applicant pool. This means that if you have a DUI on your record, it will show up to your potential employer. In a world where there is competition in almost every industry to get a great job, a misdemeanor or felony can make all the difference in your career.
When you want to rent a place to live, your landlord may also run a background check and turn you away if you have a DUI conviction. A mark on your record can also affect your ability to get financial aid for college.
It can increase your insurance rates
You know the drill. Even a small fender bender can increase your auto insurance rates, and a DUI makes the situation much worse. If you have been convicted of a DUI, the insurance company considers you a high-risk driver. Some insurance companies will terminate your coverage, and others may triple your rates for several years.
It can change your professional and personal relationships
Being convicted of a DUI may change the way people look at you and the way you feel about yourself. This can affect your ability to develop personal and professional relationships that are important to you.
While a DUI does not have to mean the end of the world, handling it well is important to protect every aspect of your future. If you have been charged with a DUI and are not sure where to turn, we encourage you to contact an attorney immediately.

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What to Avoid Doing at DWI Checkpoints

Sobriety checkpoints are a useful tool for police to use to keep drunk drivers off the road. They are helpful and aid in reducing the number of people who die each year as a result of drunk driving. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, over 3,300 people died in drunk driving incidents in Missouri between 2003 and 2012.

In addition to death and injuries, many people have their lives upended as a result of a DWI. Many of these come from sobriety checkpoints when police discover a person drank too much. Regardless of how much you have had to drink, there are certain actions to avoid during these interactions.

Admitting to drinking anything

If you did not drink anything, then you probably can say you have not had anything to drink. However, even if you only had one beer, you should avoid mentioning it at a checkpoint. Police officers can use anything you say against you in court. Do not admit to drinking anything. You can get away with saying, “I do not want to respond to that” when an officer asks you about your alcohol consumption.

Consenting to a search

Occasionally, officers ask to search a person’s car. This is typically only done when there is suspicion the driver drank something. Even if you know you have nothing to hide, you are within your rights to not consent to a search. Police officers cannot search a vehicle without a warrant. However, if you have an illegal substance in your car that is in plain sight, such as a beer bottle out in the open, then officers could legally search your vehicle.

Driving off before having permission

Most sobriety checkpoints only last about a minute, so make sure to stay where you are until the officer says you can leave. An officer can only ask you to pull off to the side of the road if there is suspicion. If an officer asks you, then pull off to the side instead of driving off.

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Why is .08 the Legal Limit?

Drunk driving is a huge problem in every state. Between 2013 and 2015 in Missouri, people between the ages of 21 and 25 were most likely to die as a result of drunk driving, according to data from the Missouri Department of Transportation.
You can technically drive on roadways as long as your blood alcohol content is less than 0.08 percent. However, the only truly safe BAC is zero. Someone with a BAC of 0.04 could still feel inebriated and be a danger on roadways. This begs the question: Why is the legal limit of alcohol 0.08?
It varies throughout history
The legal limit has not always been 0.08. In recent decades, some states had the legal limit set at 0.1 or even 0.15. Thanks to efforts from organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the federal government took official action to set it much lower at 0.08. In 2000, Congress enacted legislation to withhold transportation funding to states that did not comply to the new limit. By 2004, every state set 0.08 as the official designation of drunk drivers.
People have different limits
One might assume that 0.08 is the point where most people start feeling tipsy or drunk. In actuality, there is no magic number that states when a person will officially be a danger. A variety of factors ultimately influence an individual person’s BAC, such as weight, gender and body fat percentage. One person may feel completely wasted with a BAC of only 0.05 while another can feel completely fine with a BAC of 0.15.
When do people reach the limit?
As stated above, it depends on the individual person. Some people can have three drinks within a couple hours and be completely fine. Others can drink the same amount and come in well above the 0.08 limit. The best advice is to always err on the side of caution. If you drink a substantial amount in one evening, then you are better off finding another way to get home.

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How one extra drink could land you in DWI hot water

Most people would agree that it is not safe to get behind the wheel after you have had too much to drink. Most people also agree that it is a good practice to have a designated driver if you are planning to spend a night out drinking at a bar or club. Both of these practices aim to protect everyone on the road from accidents due to drunk driving.

The scenario becomes a bit cloudier when it comes to having a drink or two while you are out at dinner or a party, and then you have to drive home after. As the evening and event progresses, it can become more difficult to know “when to say when” and moderate your alcohol consumption in order to get behind the wheel safely when it is time to go home. Here are a few best practices to help keep you and others on the road safe if you are going out for drinks without a designated driver.

1. Know your own limits and alcohol tolerance

The reason it is so difficult to give people a general rule of thumb about how much is too much is because everyone reacts differently to alcohol, and men and women of different heights and weights all have different tolerances for alcohol. In Springfield, as throughout the state of Missouri, law enforcement officers can arrest you if you drive with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or higher.

Because each individual will reach a particular blood alcohol level based on different levels of alcohol consumption, it is best for you to pre-determine for yourself how many drinks you can legally consume over what span of time before you may reach a limit that could endanger others.

2. Consider carrying a personal breathalyzer or blood alcohol tester

If you know that you tend to drink when you go out and may be unable to keep your consumption to within legal limits, a good investment may be purchasing your own portable breathalyzer tester, so you can test yourself before you get behind the wheel. These devices are available in a range of budgets, so you can find one that suits your individual needs.

3. Do not drink on an empty stomach; consume alcohol with food

When you pair your drink or drinks with food, the food helps to absorb the alcohol so that it can slow the rate of intoxication. Drinking while eating can also help you consume less alcohol since you are not “drinking just to get drunk.”

These are just a few ideas you can keep in mind during your next night out when you have to drive yourself home. Getting arrested for drunk driving in Missouri can bring on very serious penalties and additional collateral damage that can affect many areas in your life. The next time you have to wonder whether you are sober enough to drive, err on the side of caution by taking a taxi or having a designated driver, and you will be sure to avoid a DWI.

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Can police arrest drivers with a BAC lower than 0.08?

It was fairly recently that the United States adopted the blood alcohol content limit of 0.08 for determining if a driver operates a vehicle under the influence. However, some politicians are presently moving to make the limit even lower. While it may seem harsh, many countries have already adopted lower BAC limits for drivers.

While the BAC limit for drunk driving in the United States still stands at 0.08 for most people, there are instances where police can arrest individuals with a BAC lower than 0.08. It is for this reason that it is always recommended for drivers to operate a car with a BAC of 0.00.

Teenagers and commercial drivers

There are specific demographics who must always drive with no alcohol in their bloodstream. A zero-tolerance policy is in place for anyone under the age of 21. Since it is not legal for teenagers to purchase alcohol, they cannot drive a car with any alcohol in their system even if it is lower than 0.08. Similarly, people who operate commercial vehicles, such as truck drivers, cannot drive with a BAC higher than 0.04. Occasionally, one drink is all it takes for someone to have a BAC higher than 0.04, so when people are on the job, they should never consume alcohol before driving.

Drivers who pose a danger to others

For drivers who do not fall within one of the above categories, they can still face a DUI even with a BAC under the legal limit. This most often occurs when the driver clearly poses a threat to others. For example, if a police officer pulls over a driver who has a child in the backseat, then the officer may arrest the driver if he or she has consumed any alcohol recently. Another example would be an office noticing a driver swerving severely between lanes. Alcohol affects everyone differently, so someone with a BAC of 0.05 could still feel intoxicated and not be in any condition to drive.

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Probable Cause: When Police Only Suspect A DWI

When you envision law enforcement officers arresting someone for DWI, you may imagine the police physically seeing a car swerving in the road. While that is the case for many of these incidents, an officer can indeed arrest someone without seeing the driver actually endanger anyone. One notorious example occurred when police tracked down a car that received a complaint from another driver, and the officers located 30 pounds of marijuana in the vehicle.

Many drivers get behind the wheel of a car after a few drinks, believing they can make it back home without catching the attention of law enforcement. However, there are instances where police can arrest drivers on suspicion of DWI due to probable cause.

What constitutes probable cause?

A police officer does not necessarily have to see you driving if there is sufficient probable cause to suggest you drove a vehicle while intoxicated at some point. For example, you may drink some alcohol and instead of driving the entire way home, you pull off to the side of the road to sleep it off. In the middle of the night, you awake to a knocking on the window. While speaking, the officer realizes you have the undeniable odor of alcohol on your breath. Since your car is on the side of the road, he or she deduces you drove while drunk and arrests you. This scenario may hold up in court because there is enough proof beyond a reasonable doubt to suggest you drove while drunk.

Circumstantial evidence

Police can also use circumstantial evidence to determine if you were intoxicated and operated a vehicle recently, even if you were in a parked car. For example, if the car has warm tires or a warm engine, then the officer can deduce the car was in motion recently. Even something minor such as the keys being in the ignition can be enough proof to establish probable cause.

 

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