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Outside factors that can impact Breathalyzer accuracy

On Behalf of | Mar 5, 2018 | Blog

If you live in Kentucky or Indiana and a law enforcement officer stops you and believes you consumed alcohol before getting behind the wheel, chances are, he or she will request that you take a breath test. Conducted using devices called Breathalyzers, breath tests reveal your blood alcohol concentration to see if it surpasses the legal threshold in your state.

If your breath test indicates that you consumed more alcohol before driving than the law allows, you will likely face a drunk driving charge. Because the consequences of drinking and driving are so severe, it is critical that you have full faith in the accuracy of your Breathalyzer reading. A falsely elevated reading could lead to steep fines, community service and even time behind bars, among other possible penalties. Just what types of factors can impact your Breathalyzer reading?

Blood or vomit in your mouth

If you vomit, bite your lip or otherwise develop blood in your mouth before you take your breath test, know that the presence of blood or vomit has the capacity to throw off your Breathalyzer reading. Generally, authorities know this, and they often also know that they should wait about 20 minutes after noting the presence of blood or vomit to test you again.

Electronic interference

While it may sound odd, electronic interference also has the capacity to lead to a falsely high Breathalyzer reading. Electronic interference can happen because of a number of different circumstances, but cellphone towers and police radio signals are among the potential causes.


If you have diabetes, you may be more likely than the rest of the population to have an inaccurate Breathalyzer reading. Why? Breath tests typically pick up any compound in your breath that has a methyl molecule structure. While alcohol does, so, too, does acetone, which you may have on your breath as a result of your condition, and not necessarily because you consumed alcohol before getting behind the wheel.

These are some of the more common factors that can throw off Breathalyzer accuracy, but please note that this is not an exhaustive list.