Can a Breathalyzer Test Be Positive If the Person Isn’t Intoxicated?

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Can a Breathalyzer Test Be Positive If the Person Isn’t Intoxicated?
August 30, 2020

Can a Breathalyzer Test Be Positive If the Person Isn’t Intoxicated?

Posted in : First Page Attorney
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What You Need To Know About Breathalyzers

Police officers have worked hard to subtly create the idea that breathalyzer tests are the smoking gun in a drunk driving case and if you have a positive result, there’s no use fighting it. However, this isn’t true. Breathalyzers are notorious for malfunctioning or having false positives and negatives due to a variety of interfering factors. Get legal help after a false OUI arrest today.

The Person Has Alcohol In Their Mouth But Not Their Bloodstream 

It’s possible for a person to consume a very small amount of alcohol and still test positive on a breathalyzer if they consumed it just prior to the administration of the test. Even the most sophisticated breathalyzer equipment can’t tell the difference between a person who is legally intoxicated and a person who has simply used a mouthwash containing alcohol.

The Person Has Certain Medical Conditions  

There are some medical conditions that can cause a person to fail a breathalyzer test, even when they haven’t had a single drop of alcohol to drink. Most commonly, this is GERD, or Gastroesophogeal Disease. 

Essentially, GERD is the term for severe and chronic heartburn that is resistant to treatment due to a loose upper esophageal sphincter that fails to keep stomach contents inside the stomach. A person with acid reflux often experienced painful burning in their chest, which is sometimes severe enough to cause the individual to seek emergency medical care thinking they may be suffering from a heart attack. 

If you have GERD, a breathalyzer test cannot be considered accurate, because it cannot be ruled out that the test was reading the alcohol in your bloodstream and not residual alcohol in your mouth from stomach acid. 

The Breathalyzer Equipment Was Not Appropriately Calibrated  

The accuracy of a breathalyzer test depends a lot on how well the officer who maintains the equipment keeps their test calibrated. Neglecting to properly calibrate and service the breathalyzer test can result in numerous false positives, all of which can be dismissed from court with the help of seasoned defense attorneys who know what to look for.

Were You Charged With Drinking and Driving After a Falsely Positive Breathalyzer? We Can Help 

When a breathalyzer test result is positive after you haven’t consumed any alcohol, you may wonder what your next step should be. Can you even try to argue against the breathalyzer evidence? Fortunately, there’s help available.  


Contact Our Northampton Criminal Defense Attorney at The Law Offices of Jesse Adams Today! (413) 931-3828
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