3 Reasons Why Breathalyzer Tests Are Unreliable

Posted By The Evans Firm || 28-Sep-2015

Many people mistakenly view breath tests as an unquestionable indicator of how drunk you are. In reality, these tests are highly flawed and can be influenced by a wide range of factors. In this blog, we explore three of the most common reasons why Breathalyzer test results may be inaccurate.

The Results Can Be Skewed By Health Conditions

There are a number of health conditions that can potentially cause a false Breathalyzer reading. One of the most common is acid reflux or heartburn. The “reflux” in acid reflux refers to a small amount of the stomach contents being regurgitated into the mouth. This can actually produce low-levels of alcohol, which can lead to inaccurate Breathalyzer readings.

If you have a fever, or even just an elevated body temperature, you can test significantly higher on a breath test. Most studies agree that this can lead to up to a 9% change in blood alcohol content on a Breathalyzer test.

Your Diet Can Cause False Readings

If you’ve eaten a food which has yeast or sugar, you may test positively for alcohol even if you haven’t had any. When caught in the teeth, these foods interact with bacteria to create “mouth alcohol,” which can throw off the results of a test.

High-carb diets aren’t the only cause of false readings, though. In fact, low-carb diets cause the body to enter a state of ketosis, in which the body focuses on burning fat for energy. This state creates molecules called ketones, which in turn create an alcohol similar to rubbing alcohol.

They Must Be Calibrated & Administered Properly

While health conditions cause a number of inaccurate breath test readings, many more are the result of improper calibration of the device itself. Breathalyzers must be calibrated regularly to ensure the most accurate results possible. Many law enforcement officers fail to calibrate these devices on time, and may also not use standard protocol when administering the test. Either one of these issues can render the breath test results useless as evidence.

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Categories: Criminal Defense

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