There’s a common perception among many Americans that chemical breath testing (like that done with a Breathalyzer) is all but infallible. People tend to presume someone is guilty of impaired driving if they failed a breath test, although innocent people fail breath tests during traffic stops all the time.
If you recently got pulled over and failed the chemical test, you may find yourself questioning your own judgment or memory. However, as the three examples below demonstrate, there are common scenarios that could lead to a false positive:
1. You have diabetes for are on the Keto diet
Keto diets try to push your body into a state of ketoacidosis to help it burn fat. By controlling what nutrients you intake, you might produce more effective fat-burning results. Ketoacidosis is also experienced by people with uncontrolled blood sugar issues, including diabetes.
The chemicals on your breath when your body is in the state are in the same molecular family as alcohol, which might mean you blow a false positive on a breath test.
2. The officer makes a mistake during the test administration
Although chemical breath tests are meant to be easy to use, mistakes still do occur. Especially if the officer hasn’t recently done any training on the device they use, they might make a mistake that leads to a false positive and an unnecessary arrest. Reviewing the training history of the officer-involved might help you if you suspect administration errors caused a false positive.
3. The police department hasn’t properly maintained the testing unit
Chemical breath tests rely on complex technology to return easily interpreted results. In order to keep these devices running properly, police departments need to maintain them. Frequent calibration is necessary, as are software upgrades in some cases. Inadequate maintenance or out-of-date software could easily result in a false positive.
Looking at why your breath test had an accurate result can often be the first step in planning to defend yourself against pending impaired driving charges.