Is Time Running Out? …We’re Here To Help

The problem with breathalyzers

On Behalf of | May 27, 2020 | Firm News |

Nobody should drink and drink, but we would all be fools not to admit that many people do drink while intoxicated. Sometimes the driver only had a couple of drinks and paired it with a meal and a glass of water. Other times the driver had few happy hour drinks without food, and sometimes, the intoxicated driver is drunk beyond belief and swerving all-around the road.

In the case of the severely intoxicated driver, it would be difficult, but not impossible, to defy the blood alcohol content (BAC) test results from a breathalyzer. For those who only had a couple of drinks and blew an unusually high reading above the legal BAC limit (0.08%) are likely to have a better defense. 

What causes faulty breathalyzer results?

While blood tests yield much more accurate results, officers can’t currently safely lawfully administer blood-alcohol tests on the roadside. Breathalyzers are the current faulty-standard. The primary culprit for inaccurate results is these little machines are highly technical and require consistent recalibration and technology updates that are bypassed by either the product companies or precincts. Also, to ensure an accurate reading, officers should be administering multiple tests to each driver.

Other factors that cause a faulty breathalyzer reading, include:

  • Acetone: People with diabetes who suffer from diabetic ketoacidosis, those with hypoglycemia, and people with a low-carbohydrate diet can have a high amount of acetone on their breath. This chemical leaves breath smelling sweet, fruity, and sometimes smelly. Acetone could lead to a false breathalyzer reading of .06% or an increase of .06% if they were drinking.
  • Mouthwash products, dental medications, and breath fresheners that contain traces of alcohol
  • Human error
  • Environmental substances like paint fumes, varnishes, plastics and adhesives

Due to their many inaccuracies, hiring a criminal defense attorney to help challenge the breathalyzer results that led to your DUI is worth considering. These testing devices measure the alcohol level on someone’s breath. Still, they too often come back with inaccurate results, which in turn can lead to harsher than appropriate penalties for convicted drivers.