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5 things that could cause a false positive on a Breathalyzer

The police pull you over and ask you to blow into the Breathalyzer. The reading is positive, and they arrest you, ignoring your protests that you have not been drinking. Is that the end of the story? Not necessarily.

The police rely on Breathalyzer tests, and you are unlikely to convince them the reading is wrong. Yet, you can often persuade a court.

Breathalyzers are not foolproof

There are several reasons that the Breathalyzer could say you were driving under the influence (DUI) when you were not. Here are some:

  1. The machine needs calibrating: If a court orders you to install an ignition interlock, they require you to take it for regular calibration. Yet as a driver who the police arrest, you have no idea when the police last took their machine for calibration. Your attorney can seek to find out.
  2. Foods: Brewers use yeast, but so do bakers. Yeast releases alcohol, albeit not a lot, when making pizza or cake. Fermentation also occurs when making vinegar. Chefs often use alcohol in their recipes, and while most should burn off during cooking, there may be exceptions. Certain mints can, or cough sweets can also affect Breathalyzer readings.
  3. Substances you work with: If you work with glues, paints or specific chemicals, residue can stay on your body and in your clothes and affect readings.
  4. Medicines you take: Some medication can help push you over the Breathalyzer limit. Some hurt your ability to drive.
  5. Medical conditions: Diabetes can release acetone which will affect readings of some machines.

Blowing positive on a Breathalyzer test does not mean a court will find you guilty. There are many ways to contest a DUI charge. The consequences of a conviction are considerable. It is always worth investigating defense options available to you.

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