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A positive BAC breath test may not be accurate

On Behalf of | Jun 23, 2019 | DUI/DWI |

Whether you have a favorite bar in Hinesville or regularly go to Savannah for a night on the town, you must be careful never to drink and drive. After all, few things can derail your future plans faster than a DUI charge. If you ever face one, you must act both quickly and diligently to defend yourself.

When police officers in Georgia stop drivers for suspected drunk driving, they take certain steps to either confirm or dispel their suspicions. Often, officers ask drivers to submit a breath sample for testing. If the breath test indicates a driver’s blood alcohol concentration is above the 0.08% legal limit, officers have grounds to make an arrest. Still, breath tests do not always produce reliable results. Here are four reasons a breath test may issue a false-positive reading

1. Food items 

Breath tests should not measure the amount of alcohol in your mouth. Instead, they should reveal how much alcohol you have in your bloodstream. Still, if you have food particles stuck between your teeth, you may receive a false-positive result. That is, particles may absorb alcohol, deceiving the test into believing you have more alcohol in your system than you actually do. Ripe fruits, bread, sugar-free gum, protein bars and energy drinks may also confuse a breath test. 

2. Medical conditions 

While you can likely moderate how much alcohol you consume, you do not have much control over your medical conditions. When it comes to breath testing, though, you must realize that certain stomach disorders and other conditions may result in a false-positive readout. For example, gastrointestinal disorders and diabetes may increase your odds of receiving unreliable results. 

3. Environmental factors 

While breath tests usually measure alcohol in a person’s bloodstream, they may also pick up alcohol fumes in the air. For example, a breath test may measure alcohol from mouthwash, cigarette fumes, hand sanitizer or personal fragrance. If officers do not account for environmental factors, you may not be able to trust the accuracy of your test results. 

4. Calibration 

For breath tests to function properly, officers must carefully calibrate each unit. Unfortunately, though, officers may not always stay on top of calibration. Should you ever face DUI charges, you may want to request the calibration record for the unit that gave you a positive reading.

In the American judicial system, you have the right to defend yourself against criminal charges. If you believe a breath test gave a false-positive reading, you may want to attack the validity of the test. By understanding why breath tests tend to give inaccurate results, you can better plan for your defense.