Factors that may impact breath test accuracy

| Jul 12, 2021 | blog, DUI |

When a Minnesota law enforcement officer stops your car and asks you to take a breath test, quite a bit hangs in the balance. The results of your breath test may determine whether you wind up facing a charge of driving while intoxicated, which carries substantial penalties and possible jail time. Thus, it is imperative that the breath test device you blow into produces accurate results. However, there are certain circumstances that may prevent it from doing so.

According to BACtrack, many law enforcement agencies prefer administering breath tests, rather than blood or urine tests, to determine impairment. They often prefer to do so because breath test devices are lighter and easier to administer than alternatives. However, the following variables have the capacity to impact the results of your breath test.

Certain cleaners or medications in your mouth

Certain forms of mouthwash or breath freshener contain alcohol. In some cases, the alcohol inside them may make it appear as if you consumed beer, wine or hard liquor before getting behind the wheel even if you did not. Certain medications, including some toothache pain medications, also have a history of offsetting breath test results.

Certain environmental factors

The presence of certain elements, fumes or substances in the air may also impact breath test accuracy. Certain types of chemicals and paint fumes have affected the accuracy of breath test results. Sometimes, electrical interference may also hinder breath test device accuracy.

Calibration issues

A breath test device also has to undergo periodic calibration to make sure it produces accurate results. If administrators neglect to properly calibrate the device, its readings may not prove trustworthy.

If you believe your breath test results were incorrect, it may serve you well to get to the bottom of things so that you do not wind up facing a meritless DWI charge.