What can affect the accuracy of a breath test?

Many drivers have gone through a situation where a police officer has pulled them over on suspicion of DUI and requested that they breathe into a breathalyzer. If you are dealing with your own DUI case, you may believe a breathalyzer reading is the final word in your case. However, breath tests are not always accurate. 

Even if you have supplied a breath sample that registered a high BAC level, there are reasons, according to WebMD, why your breath may throw off the accuracy of a breathalyzer. Additionally, in some cases the breathalyzer itself might be defective and incorrectly measure a high alcohol level in your breath. 

Substances that can throw off a breath test 

What you have in your mouth might affect the accuracy of a breathalyzer. If you smoke, you might produce a false positive. You might also produce a false BAC level if you have recently used a product in your mouth that contains a small amount of alcohol, like breath freshener or mouthwash. Additionally, you may have had an alcoholic drink as long as 15 minutes ago and never got inebriated from it, but small amounts of alcohol still in your mouth may produce a high BAC reading. 

Flaws that may impair a breathalyzer 

A number of flaws in a breathalyzer can affect a BAC reading. A police breathalyzer may produce a false positive if the device was not calibrated properly. Some breath machines may suffer from low power and need new batteries. There are also devices that use software that require occasional updates to prevent malfunctions. Without a timely update, the device may not read your breath correctly. 

Factors that delay processing alcohol 

It is also important to take stock of how quickly you can process an alcoholic drink. If you drink multiple alcoholic beverages in a short span of time and drink them quickly, your BAC level will rise more rapidly. If you have a lot of food in your stomach, particularly foods high in protein, your body will take longer to process the alcohol. These and other factors may keep your BAC level high by the time you supply a breath test. 

If you suspect the police got a false BAC reading from you, you have recourse to challenge the results of the test in court. An experienced criminal defense attorney will understand how to contest BAC readings from a breath test or other forms of alcohol testing.