The breathalyzer test is one of the most common ways law enforcement determine
your blood alcohol content level after arresting you and charging you
with driving under the influence. While these small machines have become
remarkably accurate, they can still be fooled by a number of different
circumstances, including some that you may not have any control over.
This is important because a false-positive test result will produce evidence
that will need to be debunked in order to show that your arrest was unlawful
and you’re not guilty of your charges. Here are some of the most
common things that can fool a breathalyzer.
Dental hygiene is important, and many people turn to mouthwash to get all
of the bacteria out of their mouth and leave their breath smelling fresh.
It should come as very little surprise that most mouthwashes have a fairly
high amount of alcohol in them. The thing is, this alcohol may still be
present in your mouth for quite a while after, but it’s not in your
system or inhibiting you from driving. That being said it can also fool
a breathalyzer into showing an elevated blood-alcohol level that’s
in no way a reflection of reality. Mints, gums, cough drops, and even
tobacco products have also been shown to trigger false-positive results
in breathalyzer tests.
Breathalyzers need to be calibrated extremely carefully in order to be
accurate. If an officer makes even a slight mistake, the results of your
test could be off just enough to cause you to be detained and charged
when you never broke the law. To check for this, a skilled Birmingham
DUI attorney will usually request all maintenance logs associated with
the breathalyzer in question to make sure it’s been recently serviced
and that no mistakes were made during the calibration process that could
cause inaccurate results.
Much like mouthwash, any medications that are applied directly to the inside
of the mouth could lead to a false positive. This is particularly true
for old and flu treatments, which often contain menthol, a substance that
breathalyzers have a hard time distinguishing from normal alcohol. It
also doesn’t help that driving with a nasty cold also usually looks
similar to driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, prompting
officers to pull people over and subject them to these tests.
Everyone’s breath is going to contain even trace amounts of acetone,
a substance similar to alcohol. For those who are diabetic, however, this
level increases dramatically. When blood sugar levels dip lower, acetone
levels rise. Hypoglycemic drivers with high acetone levels on their breath
have even been found to have a false blood alcohol content reading of
.06. At that rate, even a simple sip of alcohol or even a rinse with alcoholic
mouthwash combined with this level of acetone can trigger a false positive
from a breathalyzer and lead to an unlawful arrest.
If you have been arrested and charged with driving under the influence
after a breathalyzer BAC test that you believe to have been flawed or
falsely positive, let Tidwell Law Group, LLC fight for you! Call us today
at (205) 800-8596 to
request a consultation!