Many people are unaware of how breathalyzers work. When individuals ingest alcohol, that substance shows up in the breath because it is absorbed from the mouth, throat, stomach, and intestines into the bloodstream. As the blood enters the lungs, some of the alcohol can move across the membranes of the lung’s alveoli into the air. The breathalyzer calculates your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) depending on how much alcohol it detects on your exhale. However, these machines aren’t 100% accurate.
Police officers typically need to have their breathalyzers calibrated at least once a month to ensure the device is functioning correctly. Without this calibration, the device cannot be relied upon to give accurate readings, particularly if they are being tested on people with certain medical conditions. For example, people who are hypoglycemic can have high levels of acetone in their breath, a type of chemical that can trigger a false reading in a breathalyzer. Some acetone levels are so high they can cause a false reading of 0.06% BAC.
Likewise, certain breath-freshening products can cause false positives with cheaper types of machines. Mouthwash made with alcohol can cause a false positive, as can mints, cough drops, and tobacco. Some product brands use sugar substitutes, such as sorbitol or menthol, which can cause a false positive.
Even something as benign as heartburn or acid reflux could create an environment in the mouth that might cause a false positive reading in a breathalyzer. If you or a loved one were arrested for a DUI after a false breathalyzer reading, don’t hesitate to give our skilled Las Vegas DUI lawyers a call. Turco & Draskovich is dedicated to defending the rights and freedoms of our clients. Let us see how we can help you keep your driving privileges and avoid high financial penalties for a DUI conviction.
Contact us at (702) 381-6590 or fill out our online form to schedule a free case consultation with us today.