If officers suspect you may have a blood alcohol concentration over 0.08%, they are likely to ask you to provide a breath sample for testing. You do so by breathing into a small device, often beside the road during a traffic stop.
A recent investigation found an alarming number of false-positive DUI breath test results. Consequently, if you are facing DUI charges, it may behoove you to investigate the reliability of your breath test. Here are some reasons the test’s results may not be accurate.
Trace amounts of alcohol
In theory, DUI breath tests work by measuring the amount of alcohol in your bloodstream. Because the test uses a breath sample, though, it may measure small amounts of alcohol in your stomach, mouth or esophagus. Therefore, you may have failed a DUI breath test despite not consuming enough alcohol to violate Indiana law.
Certain types of foods
When your body digests certain types of food, it creates acetone and other chemical byproducts. A DUI breath test may confuse these chemicals with alcohol, causing you to receive a false-positive result. Some nuts, breads, protein bars or ripe fruits may be to blame for your arrest.
Some medications and medical conditions
Any prescription or over-the-counter medication that contains alcohol may contribute to your failure of a DUI breath test. After all, the testing device may measure the alcohol in these medications instead of the alcohol in your system.
Likewise, if you have some gastrointestinal medical conditions, like regular indigestion or GERD, you probably should not blindly accept the results of your DUI breath test. With these conditions, the testing device may not be able to distinguish between stomach acid and alcohol.