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False positive and breathalyzer test: how does it happen?

On Behalf of | Jan 9, 2023 | DWI Defense

If law enforcement has reasonable suspicion that you are driving under influence (DUI), they will pull you over for further investigation. Part of this investigation may involve administering a breathalyzer test to establish your blood alcohol content (BAC) level. 

However, it is not uncommon for the breathalyzer test to give a false positive result. This means that it is entirely possible to be wrongfully convicted of drunk driving on account of false positive results. But how does the breathalyzer equipment produce a false positive result?

Leading causes of false positive results

If you use a product that contains alcohol (like mouthwash, perfumes and colognes or certain medications), there is a pretty good chance the breathalyzer device will detect the alcohol concentration. Consequently, this will lead to a false positive. Spraying certain bug repellents can also lead to a false positive. 

Consumption of certain foods prior to the test can also cause a false positive. Whereas such foods may contain alcohol, the concentration may not be high enough to make you intoxicated. Examples of foods that can cause false positives include hot sauces, certain fruits, fermented sodas and energy drinks. 

The use of certain medications can also lead to false BAC readings. If you are on allergy medications, flu medicine or asthma and anti-ulcer medications, then the breathalyzer might give a false positive. 

Defending your rights

Driving under influence is a serious offense with far-reaching legal and personal consequences. If you believe the breathalyzer result was false, you need to explore your legal options so you can safeguard your rights.