Tennesse drivers facing DUI charges may overestimate the strength of the evidence against them. Many make the mistake of deciding not to fight the charges, since, in their minds, the case against them has been proven.

One reason for this mindset is that DUI evidence generally includes the results of chemical blood alcohol content (BAC) tests. While these can sound impressively scientific, in reality, their results are often not as reliable as people think.

How breathalyzers work

One of the most common methods of determining BAC is the field breathalyzer, which measures the alcohol content in your exhaled breath. When you consume alcohol, your bloodstream absorbs it and carries it to your lungs, where it filters into the air you exhale. Breathalyzer results extrapolate your consumption based on the assumption of a specific ratio between the contents of your breath and your presumed intake.

Human error

However, there exist several factors that can skew breathalyzer results significantly. One of these is incorrect operation by the officer. Another is failure to properly recalibrate after each use.

Mouth alcohol

The presence of mouth alcohol can also generate higher-than-accurate results. For example, people with braces or dentures may retain little pools of alcohol that can dramaticaly raise the detected levels. Use of alcoholic mouthwashes can create the same effect.

Ketosis

Certain medical conditions tend to raise ketone levels, which breathalyzers may interpret as alcohol. Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, can raise ketones; conditions such as diabetes can increase the risk of this occuring. Low-carb ketogenic diets may also trigger a similar chemical response. The same medical issues that may cause falsely positive readings on the breathalyzer can also cause drivers to fail field sobriety tests.

One of the biggest mistakes you can make in your DUI case is giving up without a fight. Instead of assuming all is lost, speak with an experienced defense attorney about potential strategies to protect your rights.