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Factors that might affect the results of breathalyzer tests

On Behalf of | Jan 6, 2023 | DUI

It might come as no surprise that facing allegations of driving while under the influence of alcohol can be a stressful and harrowing process. If a traffic stop leaves you facing a similar situation, there are several procedures authorities might employ to measure the level of alcohol content present in your blood. 

While breathalyzer tests remain a common technique for measuring levels of impairment, the results of these tests might not always be accurate. Understanding the factors that could affect breathalyzer test results may help you better prepare to explore your available options and protect your future interests. 

Test results 

Breathalyzer tests function to give an estimate of the alcohol content in your blood stream by measuring the content of alcohol in your breath. Some factors that can affect the results of such tests may include: 

  • Chemical compounds:  Studies indicate that there are various types of chemical compounds that might skew the results of breathalyzer tests, such as vinegar and some mouthwashes. 
  • Health conditions:  Certain health conditions could also affect breathalyzer test results, and even those who have a higher body temperature on average may be more likely to give higher test readings. 
  • Test sensors:  The sensor technology used in breathalyzer test machines may hardly be infallible, and faulty sensors are an example of an issue that could lead to a greater risk of inaccuracies in test results. 
  • Calibration:  Most breathalyzers are battery powered and require frequent maintenance and calibration, and failure to properly maintain these devices could also increase the risks of errors and inaccuracies. 

Studies also indicate that breathalyzer tests may have a general margin of error, and if you feel that inaccurate test results left you accused of driving under the influence, you might have questions about the next steps to take.  

Challenging test results 

While it may be possible to challenge the results of a breathalyzer test, knowing how to tell if this may be a viable path in your situation can be an intimidating task. With so much at stake, it could be in your best interests to seek guidance in evaluating your situation and preparing to make informed decisions about your options. Such advice may help you better understand what to expect from this process and help you prepare to seek the most favorable outcome possible regarding your future in Minnesota. 


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