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Outside factors can produce a false positive breathalyzer test

On Behalf of | May 12, 2016 | Field Sobriety Tests |

When a Colorado police officer suspects a person of driving under the influence of alcohol, the officer will likely perform a field sobriety test to confirm his or her suspicions. In the eyes of the law, a person is considered intoxicated when a sobriety test registers a 0.08 percent or higher blood alcohol concentration. Such a reading could potentially lead to a conviction for driving under the influence, or DUI.

Most people already know this, but what they may not know is that several outside factors could lead to a false positive breathalyzer result. This could explain why you are facing DUI charges if you haven’t had a drop to drink in many hours. It could also make all the difference in your case if you are working with a defense lawyer who knows how to handle false positive test results.

One of the most common and most egregious factors that could affect your breath test is poor or absent device calibration. Breathalyzers require maintenance to perform accurately including periodic calibration and battery replacement.

The presence of foreign substances in the mouth can also produce a false positive field sobriety test result. Breath fresheners, mouthwash and even dental medications are some of the substances that can affect the test’s accuracy.

Nearby environmental factors may also play a role in producing a false positive test result. Some of these factors include the presence of varnish or paint fumes and even chemical out gassing from adhesives or plastics.

Finally, breathalyzer results may be impacted by the humans who operate them. Human error may play a significant role in the outcome of a breathalyzer test.

If you believe strongly that your DUI arrest occurred due to an error, you should speak with a defense lawyer as early as possible. In all situations, your most important goal should be to avoid a conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol.

Source: Bactrack, “Are Breathalyzers Accurate?,” accessed May 05, 2016