Few things have the potential to ruin your fun evening faster than a stop for suspected drunk driving. After all, if a judge or jury convicts you of driving under the influence, you are susceptible to a few different legal penalties. You may also have trouble obtaining an education, finding a job or securing housing with a DUI conviction on your record.
If an officer suspects you are violating Massachusetts’s DUI laws, he or she may ask you to breathe into a testing device. This device should measure your blood alcohol concentration. Regrettably, though, breath tests are not always reliable. Here are four reasons a breath test may be inaccurate.
1. The foods you eat
While breath test manufacturers design their devices to account for diet, some foods may interfere with the reliability of results. Eating ripe fruits, protein bars, energy drinks, soy sauce and even bread may cause a false-positive result. The same may be true if you are on the popular keto diet.
2. The hygiene products you use
Many hygiene products, such as cologne and mouthwash, have high concentrations of alcohol. If you use these products, they may contaminate your breath sample. That is, rather than accurately measuring your BAC, the test may detect ambient alcohol.
3. The medical conditions you have
If you have a medical condition that may interfere with a field sobriety or breath test, you should inform the officer during the stop. Gastrointestinal disorders, such as heart burn or acid reflux, may sabotage a breath test’s accuracy. Additionally, certain medications, like inhaled albuterol, may contribute to inaccurate breath test results.
4. The procedure the officer follows
Like most machines, breath tests require careful calibration, maintenance and storage. If an officer does not follow manufacturer recommendations and department procedures, the breath test may not be valid.
While you cannot control how an officer administers a breath test, you can question the validity of test results. In addition to researching the officer’s actions, you should also investigate whether your diet, hygiene products or medical conditions may have damaged the accuracy of the breath test that led to your arrest.