3 Ways a Breathalyzer Can Be Wrong

Posted on October 9, 2015
  • DUI
  • Breath tests are a common way for law enforcement to check if a person is driving under the influence of alcohol, but the results of these tests are not always accurate. In many cases, a failure to properly maintain the device, health conditions, and even your diet can lead to inaccurate results on a BAC test.

    Not Properly Calibrated

    Breathalyzers are fairly complex devices, and a single malfunction can throw off the results of a breath test significantly. For this reason, law enforcement officers are required to have these devices calibrated regularly. Your Indiana DUI defense attorney will be able to subpoena the calibration and maintenance records for the device.

    Additionally, law enforcement officers must follow very strict guidelines and procedures when administering the test. If they fail to do so, the results of the test should not be accepted in court. For this reason, it is helpful to write down everything you remember about the arrest as soon as possible.

    Something You Ate

    Your digestive system can actually throw off the results of a breath test in a number of ways. When certain foods get stuck in your teeth, especially sweet or starchy items, bacteria in your mouth can produce something called mouth alcohol. This is a low level of alcohol, but since it is in your mouth it can definitely skew the results of a Breathalyzer test.

    Additionally, a low-carb diet can also trigger false readings from a breath test. Eating a diet low in carbohydrates can increase the level of ketones in your body. These ketones can create a false positive on a breath test, throwing off the results significantly.

    A Preexisting Health Condition

    Certain health conditions can absolutely cause a false reading, the most common of which is acid reflux. If you suffer from GERD, heartburn, or acid reflux, your body can regurgitate gases from the stomach. When these gases mix with the air in your lungs, it can cause a false reading on a breath BAC test.

    Arrested for DUI in Indiana? Call (317) 687-8326.

    In Indiana, a DUI conviction carries serious penalties, including license suspension, fines, and even jail time. If you’ve been arrested for DUI, you need aggressive representation to fight the charges against you. At The Criminal Defense Team, our Indiana DUI lawyers have more than five decades of successful trial experience, and will fight tirelessly on your behalf when you retain our firm.