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4 reasons breathalyzer tests give bad readings

On Behalf of | May 22, 2019 | Blog

Grand Forks has a hip restaurant and bar scene. While an evening with good friends and great wine is a wonderful way to wrap up the workweek, driving after drinking too much is an effective way to complicate your life. If you fail a breathalyzer test, prosecutors are likely to use the test’s results against you.

Like all mechanical devices, breathalyzer tests are not perfect. In fact, some serious research studies have found test readings to be wildly unpredictable. Still, officers use units to determine if motorists have blood alcohol concentrations above the 0.08% legal limit. Here are four reasons breathalyzer tests may give bad readings: 

1. Medical concerns 

Breathalyzer tests use technology to determine how much ethyl alcohol is in your bloodstream. If you have certain medical conditions, though, your body may produce acetone. Diabetes, for example, often causes individuals to have heightened levels of acetone in their bodies. Unfortunately, devices may not be able to tell the difference between acetone and ethyl alcohol. Acid reflux and other digestive conditions may also encourage breathalyzer tests to give false readings. 

2. Calibration inconsistencies 

Device manufacturers provide extensive instructions on how to properly calibrate and use a breathalyzer test. If officers fail to follow these procedures, the breathalyzer may provide either false-negative or false-positive results. 

3. Chemical interference 

If you regularly live or work around certain chemicals, you may receive an inaccurate breathalyzer result. That is, fumes from gasoline and other chemicals may skew test findings. 

4. Electronic interference 

Just like with chemicals, sometimes, breathalyzer tests give unreliable readings because of electronic interference. Sometimes, electronic signals interfere with the way breathalyzer tests function. Accordingly, if the police officer’s radio, cellphone or another electronic device is too close to the unit, the readout may be inaccurate.

If you face a drunk driving charge, you must realize that breathalyzer tests are not infallible. Instead of allowing officers to use bad readings against you, you may need to attack the validity of the test to protect your legal rights and avoid serious consequences.


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