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Are Breathalyzer Tests Always Accurate?


The breathalyzer is not a magical tool to detect intoxication and should never be used as such. In fact, false positives are common with breathalyzers due to certain medical conditions and environmental factors.

If you were arrested for DUI because of an inaccurate breathalyzer test result, we understand the frustration you must feel. Fortunately, it’s possible to fight against bad breathalyzer results, but only with help from experienced DUI attorneys. Keep reading to learn more.

How Does a Breathalyzer Test Work?

Breathalyzers work by measuring the amount of alcohol in your bloodstream, or Blood Alcohol Content (BAC). When you blow into a breathalyzer device, the device measures any alcohol on your breath and uses a formula to determine an estimated BAC level. The results of this test can be used by law enforcement as evidence to establish your impairment.

Breathalyzers are commonly used to check for alcohol in the bloodstream while driving, and they’re also used to screen people for alcohol use before certain activities such as operating a vehicle or entering an establishment. It is important to note that breathalyzer tests are not fool-proof — false positives can occur.

What Can Cause a False Positive on a Breathalyzer?

Inaccurate breathalyzer tests can and do lead to wrongful DUI convictions. Although a lot of trust is placed on the results these devices report, there are a variety of reasons why a breathalyzer can show an inaccurate BAC.

Here are some of the most common reasons for why a breathalyzer test might be inaccurate:

  • Eating certain food or drinks prior to taking the test can interfere with its accuracy, such as interfering substances found in energy drinks, mouthwash and cough syrup
  • Not properly calibrating the breathalyzer device according to manufacturer specifications
  • Environmental factors, such as high temperatures or humidity and poor air circulation in the testing area
  • Medical conditions, such as acid reflux, diabetes, and asthma can also cause a false positive reading on the breathalyzer test
  • Human error in administering a breathalyzer test

Contact Orr Law Firm for Help

Breathalyzer tests are valuable law enforcement assets used to determine BAC, but they are not infallible. Understanding the science behind these tests, challenging potential errors, and seeking legal representation are crucial steps in protecting your rights.

When you’re facing DUI charges based on the results of a faulty breathalyzer test, reach out to Orr Law Firm for help in defending your freedom.