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Did you get the right breathalyzer results?

On Behalf of | Apr 5, 2024 | DWI & Alcohol |

Breathalyzers are crucial in cases of driving while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. But are they accurate? Can you get the wrong readings?

The accuracy of breathalyzers has been questioned for years. So, how accurate are they now?

They are accurate most of the time

The technology of alcohol testing has improved substantially over the years with new procedures being introduced. Different methods are used to measure a driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC). The police can perform a breath, blood or urine test. 

A breath test is often used, as it can quickly be performed on the roadside using a handheld device (a breathalyzer). A blood test is the most accurate, but it’s more invasive. A driver’s blood needs to be drawn in a healthcare setting. A urine test is typically less accurate than breath and blood tests, and it’s mainly used when other tests are unavailable.

Breath tests are considerably accurate with the advancement of technology, but drivers can choose a blood test if they want to. 

What can affect a breathalyzer’s accuracy?

Different factors can contribute to wrong readings on a breathalyzer. Environmental factors are one of them. Elements, such as humidity and temperature, can result in inaccurate BAC readings. If your body temperature is high, perhaps you are driving from the gym or a dance class where you had a glass of wine, your BAC readings may go up significantly, as alcohol evaporates faster in warm conditions. 

Humidity and altitude can also affect how alcohol vapor is exhaled from your body through your breath.

Other factors that can affect BAC results include substances in your mouth, such as mouthwashes and breath fresheners that contain alcohol, medical conditions like acid reflux and diabetes, medications and human error.

If you believe your BAC readings were inaccurate, consider legal help to avoid hefty penalties.