Many people believe breathalyzer tests are a smoking gun in a drunk driving case, but the truth is that there are many things that can cause breathalyzer results to be inaccurate. Depending on a number of factors, the driver’s actual blood alcohol content (BAC) may be higher or lower than the test results. Here’s what you need to know.
You Have Alcohol In Your Mouth But Not In Your Blood
If you consumed alcohol just before you were issued a breathalyzer test, the device may be pulling data from the alcohol in your mouth and not the alcohol deep in your lungs. This often results in a higher reading than the actual amount of alcohol in your bloodstream and therefore can create a false positive.
The Breathalyzer Was Administered Within 20 Minutes of You Eating or Drinking
The officer who pulls you over should observe you for a period of at least 20 minutes prior to the administration of the test. Eating or drinking any kind of food or beverage, whether it is or isn’t alcoholic, can have an impact on the outcome of the test.
You Experience Heartburn or Acid Reflux
Heartburn, which is sometimes a serious condition called Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), results when food and beverages being digested in the stomach wash back up the esophagus and sometimes into a person’s mouth. This can be uncomfortable or painful, creating the feeling of burning pain along an individual’s sternum.
In the most severe cases of GERD, a person may feel chest pain as though they are experiencing a heart attack. If you suffer from acid reflux, the stomach acid in your mouth can cause a breathalyzer test to produce a false positive, especially if you consumed alcohol previously.
The Breathalyzer Machine Wasn’t Properly Calibrated
A breathalyzer test must be appropriately calibrated according to the specifications of the manufacturer. Law enforcement officers who carry and use breathalyzer tests are responsible for conducting proper calibration of the machine to ensure accurate function. If an officer fails to do this, the test results cannot be presumed correct until the equipment has been calibrated.
Arrested for Drinking and Driving? Call an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer Right Away
Were you pulled over for driving while intoxicated, even though you didn’t have anything to drink at the time? You need to learn about your available legal options and what you can do to protect your criminal record and your future. Contact Mirsky Defense today at (203) 290-2779 for an appointment to discuss your case.