Attorney at Law


James Parker
July 16, 2023
Last reviewed by
August 16, 2023

What Is Acetone?

Acetone is a substance that is naturally produced by the body when there is a low level of sugar in the blood. There are several conditions that can cause a high level of acetone in the body, including diabetes, eating a low-carb diet, and fasting. High acetone levels can be picked up by a breathalyzer used to analyze the amount of alcohol in a person’s body and can register as alcohol. A person who is pulled over and given a breathalyzer test may be falsely accused of being intoxicated due to high levels of acetone on the breath.

Ketoacidosis is a dangerous health condition that can result from a high level of ketones in the blood. Ketosis is a condition indicative of weight loss occurring in the body. Both of these conditions result in a higher level of acetone in the body than normal. This acetone turns into isopropanol, naturally-occurring alcohol that is not related to ethanol (the type of alcohol found in wine, beer, and liquor).

Key Takeaways

  • Acetone is naturally produced by the body during periods of low blood sugar. 
  • In many states, breathalyzer tests are unable to differentiate between isopropanol and ethanol. This can result in a DUI charge when a person has not been drinking or has been drinking but does not have a blood alcohol level high enough to be charged with a DUI. 
  • If you’ve been convicted of a DUI related to high acetone levels, it’s important to work with an attorney who has experience fighting charges like yours.

Acetone and Driving Under the Influence (DUI) Charges

Many people experience physical conditions that can cause the formation of acetone, making it more likely that they’d have tested positive for having on their breath during a routine traffic stop. In many states, breathalyzer tests are unable to differentiate between acetone and ethanol (the chemical that indicates blood alcohol levels). This means that people who are experiencing ketosis or ketoacidosis due to health conditions or following a special diet may be more likely to be accused of driving under the influence than someone to whom these conditions do not apply. 

This can become especially problematic if someone who has high acetone levels consumes a safe amount of alcohol and is pulled over. If an officer smells alcohol and indicates as such in their police report, it can be difficult for the person accused of driving under the influence to fight the charge. People who have high acetone levels due to health or dietary reasons and are accused of driving under the influence need to work with a lawyer who is experienced in fighting this type of case. 

Sophisticated breathalyzer tests are able to differentiate between acetone and ethanol, but many states use breathalyzer tests that cannot discern between the two substances. Many people feel that states choosing to use breathalyzers that cannot differentiate between acetone and ethanol is a violation of a person’s rights, as the results from these breathalyzers can lead to a false conviction of driving under the influence.

The Impact of Acetone on DUI Charges

The presence of acetone in the body can have significant consequences for individuals facing DUI charges. It is not uncommon for people with certain health conditions or following specific diets to experience higher levels of acetone, leading to false accusations of driving under the influence. In many states, standard breathalyzer tests cannot distinguish between acetone and ethanol, the compound used to measure blood alcohol levels. This lack of discrimination can result in individuals being wrongly charged with a DUI when they haven't consumed alcohol or have consumed it responsibly, well below the legal limit.

For those with elevated acetone levels due to health or dietary reasons, encounters with law enforcement officers can become even more challenging. If a person is pulled over and the officer detects the smell of alcohol, it may strengthen the case against the individual, making it difficult for them to defend themselves against the DUI charge. As a result, individuals in such situations must seek legal representation from attorneys experienced in handling cases involving high acetone levels and false DUI allegations.

Bottom Line

If you’ve been charged with driving under the influence even though you were not intoxicated, it’s possible that you had high levels of acetone in your body. This is especially likely if your health or dietary conditions put you in a state of ketosis or ketoacidosis. It’s key to work with a lawyer who has worked with others in this situation in the past.

Ask a Lawyer

Ask your own question and get advice from expert attorneys
Ask Question

Featured DUI Law Lawyers

Mark A Hunt & Associates PLLC

29 years in practice
Auto Accidents, DUI Law, Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect, Personal Injury
View Profile

The Law Office of Isadore Hyde

34 years in practice
Auto Accidents, Criminal Defense, Domestic Violence, DUI Law, Personal Injury
View Profile

Feller Law, P.A.

22 years in practice
Criminal Defense, DUI Law
View Profile

Blason-Aguilar Law

20 years in practice
Alimony, At-Fault Divorce, Child Custody, Child Support, Contested Divorce
View Profile

Massi & Massi Attorneys At Law

8 years in practice
Auto Accidents, Personal Injury, Premises Liability
View Profile

Platinum Injury Law

7 years in practice
Auto Accidents, Personal Injury, Wrongful Death
View Profile


Are you looking for an attorney? Do you have questions about a legal case you are facing? Contact us now and we will put you in touch with a lawyer for free.
Attorney At Law is changing how clients connect with lawyers. By providing an innovative platform to lawyers who want to expand their practice’s reach, AAL is bringing law practices into the future.
6142 Innovation Way
Carlsbad, California 92009
Some of the content of this website may be considered attorney advertising under the rules of certain jurisdictions. The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute an attorney-client relationship.
crossmenuchevron-upchevron-down linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram