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Which causes inaccurate chemical breath test results?

On Behalf of | Oct 27, 2021 | Drunk Driving |

Law enforcement officers commonly ask someone suspected of drunk driving to undergo a chemical breath test to confirm their suspicions. While law enforcement may put a lot of faith in the results of those tests, perhaps they shouldn’t. 

Many factors can render these test results inaccurate, and that can leave you facing unfair charges. Some of the reasons chemical breath tests can be unreliable include:

Lack of calibration

Whether we’re talking about the scale at your doctor’s office, the pump at the gas station or the unit that police use to perform chemical breath tests, all of them need to be maintained, regularly inspected and tested for accuracy. The weather, the device’s age and dying batteries are three of the more common reasons these units can produce inaccurate results. 

Medications and medical conditions

Some medications, such as cough syrup, have a particularly high alcohol content that can cause the chemical breath test unit to assume that you had been drinking. The same may occur if you use an asthma inhaler a short time before submitting to a breath test. 

Medical conditions, such as diabetes or GERD, can also give the impression that you’ve consumed alcohol when you haven’t. 

Recently consumed food items

Some foods can also lead to a higher than average reading on a breath test (even without consuming alcohol). Some of the more common foods that make it on this list include:

  • Bread
  • Protein bars
  • Sugar-free gum
  • Hot sauce

In other words: Failing a Breathalyzer-type test doesn’t mean that your drunk driving case is hopeless. Obtaining the records from your chemical breath testing can illuminate several potential defenses. 

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