Aggressive Criminal Defense

What can produce a false positive in a Breathalyzer test?

In Texas, the results of Breathalyzer tests are frequently used as evidence in court. But while they might be the most common way to measure someone’s blood alcohol concentration, that doesn’t mean they’re infallible. In fact, Breathalyzers can have a margin of error up to 23%. This means that it’s entirely possible for someone to get a false positive and be wrongfully convicted of a DUI.

What causes false positives during Breathalyzer tests?

If you’ve used a product that contains alcohol, the Breathalyzer might detect the alcohol concentration and report a false positive. Products that contain alcohol include toothpaste, aftershave, hand sanitizer, bleach, mouthwash, perfume and cologne. Even spraying bug repellent on yourself can produce a false positive.

Additionally, certain types of food can cause a false positive. This includes foods that contain alcohol but don’t have a high enough concentration to make you intoxicated. Fruit, hot sauce, energy drinks, fermented sodas and protein bars can also produce a false positive. As a result, you could be unfairly charged with a DUI just for eating a protein bar.

Certain types of medication can also cause a false BAC reading. If you’re taking allergy pills, cold medicine, asthma medicine or anti-ulcer medication, the Breathalyzer might record a false positive. Even certain vitamins can affect your BAC reading. For this reason, people should be careful when taking medication and drinking alcohol, even if they’re well below the legal BAC level.

Seeking legal assistance

Finally, certain diseases can influence the results of your Breathalyzer test. If you have diabetes, the increased levels of acetone in your breath can produce false results. People with acid reflux disease can also end up with a false positive. For this reason, it’s important to have the help of an attorney if you ever get pulled over for a suspected DUI.

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