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Is the Breathalyzer test accurate?

If you have been charged with drunk driving, you most likely were administered a breath test. Police officers often use the Breathalyzer test to gauge an individual's level of intoxication.

But is the Breathalyzer test accurate?

The answer is not as straightforward as you would think.

The Breathalyzer test and other similar tests do not test an individual's blood alcohol content (BAC) level. Rather, these tests estimate BAC based on the amount of alcohol on an individual's breath.

Many factors can skew the results of the Breathalyzer test:

  • Medications: Certain medications can affect the results of a Breathalyzer test.
  • Other substances: Mouthwash or breath spray, which often contain alcohol, can skew test results.
  • Medical conditions: Many medical conditions can affect breath test results. Burping during the administration of the test, for example, can cause artificially high readings. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can also contribute to inaccurate results. Certain diets may also contribute to inaccurately high results.
  • Errors in administration of test: Did the police officer who administered the test do so correctly? Errors are not uncommon in the administration of the Breathalyzer test.

If you failed the Breathalyzer test and were subsequently charged with drunk driving, do not lose hope. There may be several ways in which to fight the charges against you, including challenging Breathalyzer test results. An experienced DUI defense attorney can help you explore your specific options. Please schedule a free consultation with an attorney from Schweitzer & Davidian to find out more.