Reasons why you might get a false-positive DUI breath test and how to handle the issue

Responsible driving courses tell us that we should never drive under the influence. First, the risk of collision associated with driving under the influence is incredibly high. Second, the legal repercussions a DIU offense will have on somebody’s criminal record are not light at all.

You have probably heard about the man who has failed a breathalyzer test because of some cough syrup. Also, several state legislators argued that breath sprays can cause a false positive result on similar devices. In court, there have been cases when people have been cleared of the DUI charges, after proof that their diets or other factors have led to a false-positive result. Below is more information on possible reasons for false-positive breathalyzer results and what should be done in such cases.



Mouthwashes or mouth fresheners can give a positive breathalyzer test, although the driver hasn’t used alcohol beforehand. Mouthwashes have a high percentage of alcohol. Because of this reason, people should avoid using similar products before driving.

According to specialists, the taste and presence of these products can remain in the mouth for a couple of hours after using. Because of this reason, when you blow into alcohol detection equipment, this can result in a positive reading. To avoid this issue, make sure to research alcohol-free mouthwash options. Read the entire ingredient list before using any sort of mouth freshener.

The bad news is, even cough mints or chewing gum can cause similar results. Although alcohol is not on their ingredient list, they have in their composition a sugar substitute that is widely-known for causing false-positive results when blowing into breathalyzers. It’s better to avoid using such products before driving, just to make sure that you don’t get wrongfully charged with a DUI offense.

Different types of medication

Certain types of prescription and over-the-counter medication can also trigger false-positive results on these tests. While they don’t contain alcohol, they cause chemical reactions after being ingested and this can result in a similar reading.

For instance, canker sore medication even over-the-counter is one of the common culprits for false-positive readings. Toothcare products can show similar readings. All types of medication and products that you apply to the mouth should be carefully analyzed before administration. Some types of medication can show readings above the legal limit in most states.

Cold and flu medication that contains menthol might give false-positive readings. Besides, driving while having a cold will also cause embarrassment, because you might look unfit for driving. Keep in mind that some of the most common flu symptoms are similar to drunkenness. Avoid driving when having a cold. You will save yourself from the embarrassment and an unnecessary trip to a blood test facility.

Poorly-calibrated equipment

Breathalyzer equipment should be frequently calibrated since it’s portable and used intensively. Unless properly calibrated, these pieces of equipment are unreliable. Human error is another contributor to potential false-positive readings. If you have any doubts regarding the equipment, make sure to get in touch with a DUI attorney and discuss your options with them.

Certain foods

It will surprise you, but some dietary choices also influence the results of a breathalyzer test. Acetone is a result of normal digestion, and it can easily fool breathalyzers for alcohol. Especially for people on low-fat diets, when the body burns fat for energy, and ketosis emerges, this results in acetone. This can translate into high BAC readings, even if you don’t drink alcohol.

If you are fasting, you will be faced with the same situation. Your body is breaking down the fats in your body, turning them into energy, and the same ketosis process takes place.

The test was administered too soon

If you are stopped by a patrol, you should know that the officer should wait at least 15 minutes before administering a DUI breath test. Mouth alcohol could influence the results and it might make alcohol levels much higher than the blood alcohol levels. Moreover, if you are noticed to burp or vomit during this time, the time needs to start all over again. Only this way, the police officer will be able to measure the alcohol volume from the lungs, not the mouth.

Different health conditions influence the results

Different health conditions will influence the results of a DUI breath test. Gastrointestinal reflux disorder, heartburn, acid reflux may all produce elevated breath test readings, even if the person hasn’t used alcohol at all, previously. Uncontrolled diabetes might also indicate higher readings in these tests.  Incomplete digestion generates higher levels f acetone. Unfortunately, breath test equipment can’t differentiate between alcohol and acetone, and you will get a false-positive reading.

Getting a DUI attorney will make a huge difference

Falling in one of the situations above can be embarrassing and even damage your career, in some cases. Because of this reason, you want to ensure that you hire a skilled and trained DUI attorney as soon as the situation emerges.

Being faced with similar circumstances will create hardship in all areas of your life. Being wrongfully charged with driving under the influence can have positive outcomes when professional attorneys able to find positive solutions to different negative situations, are hired. Given the fact that there are plenty of situations where a charge like this can appear, professionals recommend close collaborations with these experts for a better and streamlined process. In court, the expertise and experience of the attorney you hire will make a sensitive difference. Making sure your DUI attorney also serves different areas will also help you in case you are charged with other offenses as well.  If you have been arrested for a DUI, contact The Ladan Law Firm today to get the representation you deserve.

As you can see, there are numerous cases when a false-positive DUI result might appear. This could ruin your life and career. Make sure that you know your rights and all the possible causes for high DUI breath test readings. Knowing all these will ensure better outcomes for you in case of similar events, but also will have a professional attorney specialized in this law area.



Welcome to the Night Helper Blog. The Night Helper Blog was created in 2008. Since then we have been blessed to partner with many well-known Brands like Best Buy, Fisher Price, Toys "R" US., Hasbro, Disney, Teleflora, ClearCorrect, Radio Shack, VTech, KIA Motor, MAZDA and many other great brands. We have three awesome children, plus four adorable very active grandkids. From time to time they too are contributors to the Night Helper Blog. We enjoy reading, listening to music, entertaining, travel, movies, and of course blogging.

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