Having a few drinks and then getting behind the wheel can only lead to disastrous results. But what happens if you’ve only had one drink or a sip of alcohol, or even none at all, and your breathalyzer test results still show positive? What do you do then? Unfortunately, cases such as these happen more than you’d think.
Why Your Breathalyzer Test Results Yielded a False Positive
There are a number of reasons why your breathalyzer test results may have yielded a false positive. From improper calibration of the breathalyzer to outside interference, such as from mouthwash and cough syrup, here are the most common reasons for false positive breathalyzer test results:
1. Improper Calibration of the Breathalyzer
Improper calibration of the breathalyzer is the main cause of false positive breathalyzer test results. Breathalyzers come in many different makes and models. This means law enforcement must adhere to their equipment’s manufacturer’s guidelines for proper calibration. Most often, these guidelines call for calibration every two weeks. However, there have been many cases where law enforcement failed to follow that strict guideline. When that happens, breathalyzer test results cannot be considered accurate.
2. Leftover Alcohol Residue in Your Mouth
Breathalyzers are designed to measure the level of alcohol saturation from the air in your lungs. Furthermore, your body will release alcohol through your lungs in order to process and expel it. Even if you take just a sip of alcohol, the breathalyzer can pick up the alcohol residue in your mouth. This can yield a higher reading of alcohol than the actual amount in your body. Because of this, all breathalyzers strongly recommend that officers wait about 20 minutes before administering the test. Unfortunately, some officers do not adhere to that recommendation. If police choose to ignore that recommendation, then your results may not be accurate.
3. Outside Breathalyzer Interference
There are many different things that can cause an interference with the breathalyzer test results. One of the most common interferences is from ketones in diabetics blood. These ketones can cause an increased level of acetone in your breath, which some breathalyzers can mistake for alcohol. Other forms of interference can include mouthwash, cough syrup, gum, paint fumes, or herbal supplements.
4. Improperly Measuring BAC During the Absorption Phase
Another common reason for false breathalyzer test results includes an improper measurement of BAC during the alcohol absorption phase. In reality, this phase can vary depending on each person, lasting anywhere from thirty minutes to over an hour or more. During this period of absorption, alcohol is not distributed evenly throughout your blood stream. This can lead to erroneous breathalyzer test results. If you took a breathalyzer test during this absorption phase, your test results may not be accurate.
Did Your Breathalyzer Test Results Yield a False Positive?
If your breathalyzer test results yielded a false positive, consult a DWI lawyer as soon as possible. A knowledgeable DWI layer can help you build the right defense to help you fight your results in court. With the experience and expertise of our lawyers at Hoeller & McLaughlin PLLC, your false positive results can be overturned in a court of law. Whether you only had one drink or a sip, or no alcohol at all, you do not have to suffer from the false readings of your breathalyzer test.