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Factors that may impact breath test accuracy

On Behalf of | Aug 16, 2021 | DWI |

When a North Carolina law enforcement officer suspects you have been driving while impaired, he or she may have you submit to a breath test to see whether your blood alcohol concentration exceeds the legal limit. If the breath test shows that you are under the influence, you may face a DWI charge and a range of associated penalties if convicted.

According to BACtrack, breath test devices are often, but not always, accurate. Several circumstances and factors may lead a breath test device to offer up a false reading or result. Some of these factors are as follows.

Foreign substances in your mouth

Some individuals facing DWI charges had their charges dismissed after showing that they had certain foreign substances, such as blood or vomit, in their mouths at the time of their breath tests. Mouthwash, breath freshener and other products that contain alcohol may also lead to false-positive breath tests.

Improper calibration

A breath test device must undergo regular calibration to give accurate readings. If authorities fail to calibrate it appropriately or fail to keep the batteries working, these actions may lead to false readings.

Software glitches

Just as your computer or phone might experience periodic glitches, a breath test device may do the same. These devices rely on special software. If something interferes with this software, it could impact the accuracy of the device’s readings.

While foreign substances, improper calibration and software glitches all have the potential to throw off breath test results, other variables, such as administrator errors or environmental factors, may also impact breath test accuracy.