Are Breathalyzers Foolproof?

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Breathalyzer and DUI are terms that go hand in hand. Many people hear “DUI” and immediately think of a Breathalyzer. This is understandable as every state has adopted some form of this roadside test for drivers pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence. Many drivers though are in fact charged with a DUI, because they failed a Breathalyzer test.

For this reason, many clients ask: “Are Breathalyzers always accurate?” The straight answer is: no. A Breathalyzer can return unreliable readings and thus there is a possibility for acquittal even if a Breathalyzer test was administered.


Breathalyzers are not 100% accurate.

First things first: if you, or a loved one, are currently facing a DUI charge, contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer. A lawyer well versed in this area of the law can help defend your case and guide you through this potentially difficult process.

An experienced DUI lawyer can help determine if the Breathalyzer test performed on-site was accurate and reliable. They can also help represent you in court and potentially save you from the worst of consequences.


What can trigger a Breathalyzer?

Many people don’t know this but several types of food, household items, accessories, and even diet can potentially render a false-positive on certain Breathalyzer tests.

Over-the-counter medicine like cough syrup can cause a reading of over .08% BAC. So can mouthwash, nuts, energy drinks, perfumes, breath strips, and other combinations. The reason some breathalyzer tests can be unreliable is because of how they measure alcohol on the breath. Certain tests measure molecules called ketones, which are similar chemically to alcohol. Meaning a keto diet can cause some breathalyzer devices to register positive.

Alabama has laws in place which prohibit a driver from having a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of above .08% for personal vehicles. If the driver is holding a commercial vehicle license, then that limit drops to .04%, and if the driver is under 21 then it drops further to .02%.

Check out this page on our site for more information on DUI charges, possible consequences, and other information.


Pulled over? Here’s what to do:

Don’t be rude. Being polite can help you.

Don’t say anything you don’t need to say. You have a right to remain silent. Apart from the required documents, you do not need to show the police anything else. 

Talk to an attorney, not the cops. The quicker you contact an experienced attorney, the better your chances are. Here are some of the questions an attorney can use:

  • What device was used to conduct the test?
  • Was the officer trained properly?
  • Was the device maintained correctly? 

With these questions in mind and other factors, an attorney improves your chances of beating a DUI case greatly.


Facing DUI charges in Alabama? Contact us today.

Warren Freeman has over a decade of experience defending those charged with a DUI. Our firm will work tirelessly to defend your rights and help you evade the worst consequences. Click here to contact us today.