Law enforcement officers conduct field sobriety tests to determine if their suspicion of a driver’s alcohol intoxication is correct. Since these tests are left to an officer’s subjective judgment, they may lead to unlawful arrests and weak evidence in a DWI case. On another note, challenging breath test results is not a simple process because they calculate the driver’s blood-alcohol level.
Despite this, positive breathalyzer results may be attributed to consuming or using substances other than alcoholic beverages. False-positive breathalyzer results are not as uncommon or impossible as many people may think. At Shepherd & Hayes Law Firm, our aggressive defense strategies to help our DWI clients and overthrow invalid evidence have proved successful on many occasions in a courtroom.
Any reading above the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit of 0.08 may lead to a DWI arrest. Although, certain substances such as prescribed medications, over-the-counter medicine, some health conditions, and a few everyday health products can set off a breathalyzer or contribute to a false positive BAC reading.
Asthma inhalers are prescription medications for breathing problems such as asthma and other respiratory conditions. Some inhalers contain small amounts of alcohol within their chemical composition and can remain in a person’s system. When taking a breathalyzer test, it may be possible to trigger a result close to or over the legal limit after using an inhaler.
Everyday health products such as mouthwash and mints may cause a false positive breath test. Mouthwash can contain 15-20% alcohol, depending on its brand and flavor. Mints may also contain sorbitol, a sugar alcohol that the body metabolizes slowly. Using mouthwash or eating mints before taking a breath test may produce a false positive.
People who have diabetes can produce different chemicals in their bodies due to incorrect insulin levels. As glucose builds up, their blood sugar levels rise. When this occurs, ketones developing in the body can cause a fruity or acetone-like smell in their breath. This can cause an inaccurate breathalyzer reading or result. People with diabetes may also show changes in their state of mind if they are experiencing a diabetic episode.
Much like mouthwash and certain health products, over-the-counter medications may contribute to a false positive breath test. Drugs such as Nyquil, Dayquil, and other decongestants and cough syrups may leave residue in a person’s mouth and airway. Liquid decongestants and other oral medications may contain up to 10% alcohol, and this may cause a false positive breath test.
DWI attorneys see dozens of cases where drivers may have fallen victim to an inaccurate breathalyzer reading. A skilled legal team may gather the evidence, provide legal resources, and build a solid defense to overthrow a false positive breathalyzer reading.
Unlawful DWI arrests and false breath test readings still lead to penalties and a driver’s license suspension. At Shepherd & Hayes Law Firm, our skilled attorneys are dedicated to helping New Hampshire DWI clients gather valid evidence against the false evidence presented against them. Breathalyzers have been challenged in the past due to their lack of efficacy, proper maintenance, and a lack of law enforcement training.
Even if your results showed slightly over the legal limit, you might still be subjected to DWI penalties. Hiring a dedicated attorney may help cause the misleading information and false evidence to be dismissed. Our legal team strategizes a reliable defense and protects your rights. You may complete a contact form or call (603) 233-1626 to schedule a free consultation.