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Factors that can impact Breathalyzer accuracy

If a police officer pulls you over and has reason to believe you are intoxicated, he or she will probably try to determine your level of impairment by administering a breath test. A Breathalyzer is the device used to determine your degree of intoxication, and you may want to think twice before automatically agreeing to take part in the breath test.

If, however, you already took a breath test, and it showed that your blood alcohol content exceeded the legal limit, you will likely face a driving while intoxicated charge, and if convicted, ensuing penalties. Because the penalties associated with drinking and driving are so severe, you want to have the utmost confidence that the results of your breath test were accurate. Regrettably, however, this is not always the case, and there are factors that can lead a Breathalyzer to produce false results. Such factors include:

Electronic interference

Surprising as it may sound, electronic interference has the capacity to impact your Breathalyzer test results. It can come from a wide range of areas, too, such as police radios and cellphone towers, among others.


If you are diabetic and take a breath test, know that your diabetic condition could also affect your Breathalyzer test results. If your body is causing you to produce a lot of ketones, this can lead to acetone in your breath, and acetone can make it look as if you have been consuming alcohol when in actuality, it is because of your health condition.


Yet another factor that can cause higher-than-accurate Breathalyzer test results is vomit. Most authorities are aware of this, and they know that they are supposed to wait 20 minutes or so after you throw up before they can try to re-administer the test.

While this summary includes a few of the factors that can throw off your Breathalyzer test results, it is not an exhaustive list.

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