How you can be charged with a false DUI? Everyone agrees that drunk driving is a bad thing. Getting behind the wheel of an automobile after consuming more than a moderate amount of alcohol is equivalent to playing a Russian roulette game. However, it is not only your life that is at risk; it is everyone else on the road as well. In America, an average of 28 people dies in alcohol-related car crashes every day, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Between 2010 and 2019, NHTSA reported more than 10,000 accidental deaths annually due to drunk driving car accidents.
How you Can Be Charged With a False DUI
With statistics such as these, it is no wonder that law enforcement agencies are stepping up their efforts to stop people from driving while under the influence of alcohol. If you find yourself pulled over by authorities, there are many reasons why they may choose to administer a breathalyzer test. Still, you should be aware that false positives and inaccurate readings are not infrequent occurrences.
Shocking Ways Breathalyzers Register False Positives
The process of being tested is relatively straightforward. By blowing a continuous flow of air into the machine, it will register alcohol in your mouth, throat, and lungs. Experts agree that many factors may affect the results, including the accuracy of the machine itself, so it is essential to know what can skew your results before ever getting behind the wheel. First and most importantly, if you have consumed alcohol, do not drive. However, keep the following facts in mind if you see those heart-stopping lights of a police car in the rearview mirror.
Certain Foods Affect Breath Alcohol Content (BAC) Readings
Are you aware that many foods use some form of fermentation for commercial preservation? However, fermented foods can register on a breathalyzer as the same as alcohol. Ripe fruits are the most common example where fermentation occurs naturally. False positives or elevated alcohol levels can also be caused by other surprising and popular foods such as protein bars, bread, nuts, pizza, energy drinks, and sugarless gum. It is your responsibility to know the facts, as it is your driver’s license that may be in trouble.
Health Conditions and Your BAC
Acetone will often cause a false positive on most breathalyzer tests. A person with Diabetes and Hypoglycemia can potentially have results that reach many states’ alcohol limit for driving. So people with these medical conditions consume just one drink, their driver’s license may be subject to suspension or revocation. According to both medical and legal experts, certain gastrointestinal diseases, heartburn, and acid reflux are all medical conditions that can cause false readings.
Improper Administration of Test or Lack of Calibration
These two factors are hands down the most common defenses utilized in court for those willing and can afford to contest BAC testing results in court. Alcohol in the mouth or throat from any source, such as mouthwash, can significantly skew test results. Most police agencies have policies in place that require any officer who chooses to administer a breathalyzer test to wait for at least 15 to 20 minutes from the initial encounter for just this reason. Acid reflux, burping, or vomiting will also bring high levels of acid to the mouth and throat that may register as alcohol, so the suggested waiting time begins again if any of these occur as well.
Also, all Breathalyzers need to be appropriately maintained, including regular cleaning and re-calibration. Machines that are not up to date with regular required maintenance have been proven to result in much higher occurrences of false readings. Also, as technology advances, many older machines have been deemed too inaccurate for their results to be admissible in court hearings.
So again, if you plan to grab the keys and get behind the wheel of a vehicle, do not drink. If you are driving and happen to get pulled over or are involved in an accident, be aware that police and safety professionals are trained to look for any possible signs of intoxication or other types of impairment. And if you are asked to take a breathalyzer test and disagree with the results, stay calm. The simple truth is that no matter where you are, there are plenty of lawyers you can hire that specialize in fighting these types of cases.
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