Common Issues with Breathalyzers

A breathalyzer is a measuring tool used by police officer throughout the United States which determines the BAC level of a person suspected of drunk driving. The results from a breathalyzer test are often used as evidence in court.

However, if a breathalyzer gives an improper reading, it is extremely beneficial to your DUI defense strategy. An improper reading can result in the judge dismissing your case entirely.

The following are the common causes for improper breathalyzer test readings:

  • Belching, vomiting, or hiccupping before taking the test. If you do any of these things before a breathalyzer test, you may register a high alcohol reading despite not drinking any alcohol. It is mandatory for police officers to constantly observe a DUI suspect to ensure belching hiccupping, or vomiting doesn’t occur.
  • Being on a diet. Certain diets, such as low-carb diet, can result in false breathalyzer readings. The bodies of people who go on low-carb diets perform “ketosis,” which turns fat into energy and generating molecules called ketones. Ketones create isopropyl alcohol, which can confuse a breathalyzer test to believe it is ethanol.
  • Residual alcohol from your mouth. Traces of alcohol can be contained in your mouth or absorbed in foods trapped between your teeth. Whatever the case might be, residual alcohol in your mouth can lead to a higher measurement of BAC.
  • Your metabolism. If you have a slow metabolism, then your body may take longer to absorb alcohol, causing the reading to appear higher than the actual amount of alcohol in your blood stream.
  • Temperature of your breath. The breathalyzer is often calibrated at 34 degrees centigrade. However, people often come closer to 35.5 centigrade at the time of a DUI arrest, resulting in a 10% to 20% increase in the reading.

If you were arrested for a DUI in Rhode Island, The Law Office of Thomas C. Thomasian, Esq. can investigate your arrest and determine whether or not the breathalyzer test readings were inaccurate. Contact Attorney Thomasian and request a free consultation today.