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Factors that impact the accuracy of a breath test

If you find yourself facing a charge of driving under the influence, you are likely concerned with how it may affect you personally, professionally and financially. Most DUI charges come in the wake of the administration of a breathalyzer test, which involves using a specially designed device to measure the presence of alcohol within your bloodstream.

Contrary to popular belief, breathalyzer readings are far from fool-proof. There are a number of factors that can lead you to produce a false-positive reading, even if you have not consumed any alcohol. If you

only had a small amount of alcohol, or no alcohol at all, but your breath test showed that you were intoxicated, it may be due to the following factors.

A defective, badly calibrated or improperly used measurement device

This is one of the more common reasons for inaccurate breath test readings. Because of how high the stakes are when administering breath tests, it is critical that the instrument used is properly maintained and in premium working condition. It must also be calibrated on a regular basis and regularly checked to make sure it still produces accurate readings. It also must be used by someone who holds a certification to do so.

Environmental factors

Exposure to certain environmental factors may also lead to a false-positive breathalyzer reading. The ingredients in certain paints and paint fumes in general have been shown to alter the accuracy of breath tests. Certain chemical compounds and plastic materials may also impact a breath test. Electronic interference, whether it be in the form of radio waves, cellphone signals or more, can also affect the test's accuracy.

Burping or vomiting

Bodily functions such as burping and vomiting also can produce false-positive breath test readings. This may also occur if you have ingested certain alcohol-containing substances, such as mouthwash, prior to taking the test. Because it is widely known by authorities that bodily functions can hinder the results of your breath test, law enforcement officials are told to watch you closely after you are pulled over to make sure you do neither of these things. If you do, the administrator knows he or she must wait about 20 minutes before he or she can again try to test you.

A DUI charge is often accompanied by considerable fines, the loss of your license and even jail time, so if you have been charged with DUI and doubt the accuracy of your breath test result, consider getting in contact with an attorney.

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