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False-positive Breathalyzer results: How can it happen?

On Behalf of | Nov 8, 2022 | Criminal Defense

The feeling of spotting those police lights flashing through your rear-view mirror can be unsettling, to say the least. However, what follows next can be life-altering in a number of ways. If the officer discloses that they are pulling you over for a drunk driving investigation, they will most likely ask for a Breathalyzer test.

It is not uncommon for the Breathalyzer equipment to give false results. Exactly how does a false positive happen?

Time factors can lead to false positives

The Breathalyzer equipment is designed to measure the concentration of alcohol in your blood. If you take the test immediately after consuming even a small amount of alcohol, it may return a false positive result. To eliminate this error, the police are trained to wait at least 15 minutes after the stop before administering the test. 

Eating certain foods or taking certain medication can also be a problem

Consuming foods that contain alcohol or high levels of yeast can also lead to a false positive. This is because as yeast ferments during digestion, it converts sugars to alcohol. Foods that can potentially lead to a false positive include ripe fruits, fermented sodas, certain energy drinks as well as non-alcoholic wines and beers. 

Medications that can elevate your BAC reading include allergy medications, oral gels and mouthwashes, certain anti-ulcer medications and certain multivitamins. 

Getting indicted and charged with drunk driving can turn your life upside-down almost instantly. Knowing your legal options can help you defend yourself and safeguard your rights following a DUI charge.