How Accurate are “Breathalyzers”?

Arizona has some of the nation’s strictest drunk driving laws, and if authorities charge you with drunk driving and that charge leads to a conviction, you can expect to face a wide range of potentially life-altering penalties. Often, whether your driving under the influence charge ultimately winds up leading to a conviction will depend, at least to some extent, on the results of your Breathalyzer reading, so you want to be sure that the reading it provides is correct.

Breathalyzer cartoon Breathalyzer readings are estimates

Most police departments rely largely on Breathalyzers when trying to assess your level of impairment behind the wheel, but there are a number of different factors that may potentially offset the readings the devices provide. This is partly due to the fact that Breathalyzers estimate, rather than exactly measure, your blood alcohol content. Just what are some of these factors that have the potential to raise or lower your Breathalyzer reading?

Factors that could affect your Breathalyzer reading:

  • Acid reflux
  • Blood or vomit in mouth
  • High body temperature
  • Body compounds produced due to diabetes

Similarly, having certain substances in the vicinity when you take your breath test, among them paint remover, vinegar, or certain cleaning chemicals may throw off the results of your Breathalyzer reading.

This information about the accuracy of Breathalyzer devices is educational in nature and not a substitute for legal advice.

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The Nolan Law Firm