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What can cause false-positives on a breath test?

On your way back to your home in Knoxville, you realize that it was not a good idea for you to drive home after having a few beers with some friends. Now that you see those flashing red and blue lights in your rearview mirror, you are probably wondering if the officer will ask you to blow into a breath test device. 

Breath test results are not indisputable. There are factors that can give off a false positive alcohol reading. Here is a brief overview of issues that can impact the accuracy of breath tests that you might use to strengthen your DUI defense

Vomiting and belching 

It is not uncommon for inebriated motorists to vomit after consuming alcohol. Belching is also a very common reaction. A law enforcement officer will closely monitor you to ensure he or she administers the breath test at a proper time. If he or she asks you to take the test right after you burp or vomit, the result might not be accurate. In fact, vomiting and belching can cause breath test devices to register higher than normal readings. That is why an officer must wait until 20 minutes have passed after you vomit or belch to retest. If not, you could dispute the accuracy of the test as a part of your defense. 

Certain health conditions 

If you suffer from certain health conditions, such as diabetes or auto-brewery syndrome, you could end up with a false DUI charge. People who have auto brewery-syndrome are very likely to blow high positives on breath tests because their bodies convert certain foods into alcohol. Individuals with diabetes are also likely to encounter false positive results if their blood sugar levels are low at the time of testing. 

Improper device maintenance and calibration 

Authorities are required to service and calibrate breath test devices. If they do not properly maintain them, you might be able to call into question the accuracy of your test result. Your attorney will need to subpoena the maintenance records for the device you blew into. 

A DUI charge can seriously compromise your future. Not only do you have to deal with the criminal aspect, but there are also emotional and financial consequences for you to consider. Keep in mind that there are a variety of factors that can affect the accuracy of breath tests. You might want to speak with an attorney to learn how he or she can potentially build an effective defense challenging the results of your breath test.

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Hindman & Lanzon
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Knoxville, TN 37902

Toll Free: 866-383-1545
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