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Factors that can impact Breathalyzer accuracy

If an officer of the law pulls you over and suspects you have been drinking, you can expect to be asked to submit to a breath test to get a better idea of your degree of impairment. The device used to test your breath is known as a Breathalyzer, and when calibrated and tested regularly and used properly, it often produces accurate readings.

If, however, the device is not properly calibrated, it may produce a false reading, and there are several other factors that can also impact the accuracy of a Breathalyzer. Given how serious the consequences of drinking and driving are, it is important you understand the factors that have the potential to throw off your test results, as you may need to reference them in your defense. Outside factors that are known to affect Breathalyzer accuracy include:

Certain bodily functions

If you burp or vomit right before taking your breath test, you may produce a higher reading than is accurate. This is common knowledge among authorities, and for this reason, they typically know to wait about 20 minutes or so after they see you burp or vomit before they administer your breath test.

Electronic interference

Another outside factor that can cause a Breathalyzer to produce inaccurate results is the presence of electronic interference. Electronic interference can come from a number of areas, among them cellphone towers and police scanners and radios, but regardless of where it comes from, it can have a serious impact on your breath test, and therefore, a serious impact on your future.


If you face a drunk driving charge and are also diabetic, your condition may have impacted the results of your breath test. High levels of ketones, which some diabetics experience, can cause acetone to develop within your body, and Breathalyzers cannot always tell the difference between the acetone compound and those found in alcoholic drinks.

If you have any doubt about the results of your breath test, ask yourself whether any of these outside factors might have caused a falsely elevated reading. The stakes are too high not to explore your options fully.

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