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Not all breathalyzers are created equal

Any Massachusetts driver with a blood alcohol content of at least 0.08 percent is over the legal accepted limit and presumed guilty of operating under the influence. An officer who administers a breath test can establish probable cause for your arrest, but the results are not admissible in court. Attorney John B. Seed has experience representing clients who are facing OUI/DUI charges.

According to BACtrack, breathalyzers’ lightweight portability and administration ease make them popular with law enforcement and individuals who want to actively monitor their BAC. Professional grade units use fuel cell sensors for highly accurate results. However, several factors can influence readings and potentially cause errors.

  • Inaccurate calibration or fading battery power
  • Out-of-date software or a version with glitches
  • Environmental factors such as plastic or adhesive chemicals and paint or varnish fumes
  • Lack of administrator training or attention to detail

Foreign substances such as some breath fresheners, mouthwashes and toothache medicines can skew readings and produce false positives. Perform breath tests multiple times for consistent, reliable results.  

Your body produces ketones when fat cells break down in your blood. As their chemical structure is similar to alcohol, they may produce false positives in preliminary breath testers that use semiconductor sensors. If you have diabetes or are on a low-calorie diet, you might be at a disadvantage when using this type of breath test.

If a law enforcement officer gave you a breathalyzer test and you are now facing drunk driving charges, the accuracy of the test may be in question. Visit our webpage for more information on this topic.

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