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Denver Criminal Lawyer Talks About the Accuracy of Breathalyzer Devices

July 18, 2018

If you get pulled over and the police officer suspects you have been drinking, you will more than likely be asked to submit to a breathalyzer test. A breathalyzer test is used to determine a driver’s blood alcohol level, and if it is over 0.08 percent, you can be arrested for driving under the influence.. By driving in the state of Colorado, your agreement to the test is implied. But just how accurate are these breathalyzer tests? According to Denver criminal lawyer John Buckley, the accuracy of breathalyzer tests can be impacted by a number of extenuating circumstances.

Health Conditions

Some medical conditions can have an impact on your breathalyzer reading, including the following:
  • Diabetes. You may have higher levels of acetone in your system than someone who does not have diabetes. What this means is that you could blow above 0.08 percent on an older breathalyzer machine that hasn’t been designed to distinguish between ethyl alcohol already in the body and alcohol that has been consumed.
  • Keto diet. This way of eating has gained popularity in recent years, and it can impact the way your results show up on a breathalyzer. Find out more about how the popular keto diet can impact a breathalyzer in this article, written by a medical doctor: Low-Carbers Beware the Breathalyzer.
  • GERD. If you have gastroesophageal reflux disease, you might blow above the legal limit even if you have consumed a very small amount of alcohol.
  • Asthma or other respiratory diseases. In order for a breathalyzer to be accurate, the person has to blow into it for a steady four to five seconds, which could be difficult for those suffering from respiratory illness.


Medications that are used for colds often contain up to 70 percent alcohol, and these can impact the readings on a breathalyzer. It’s best to avoid driving while under the influence of these medications—and there are usually warnings right on the box that you should avoid operating heavy machinery while taking them.
Lack of Proper Calibration
Breathalyzer devices need to be calibrated on a regular basis; if they are not, their reading could be inaccurate.

Breath Fresheners

It’s not uncommon to take a swig of mouthwash before heading out for a date or other social event. Many tpyes of mouthwash, however, have alcohol in them and this can impact your breathalyzer results. Some breath mints and gum also contain alcohol. You might want to think twice before using these products before you get behind the wheel as they could skew breathalyzer results.

There are many other factors, including operator error, that can have an impact on the results of your breathalyzer test. If you had breathalyzer test but you believe it was not accurate, you will need an attorney to handle your DUI case. Contact the Law Office of John Buckley immediately following your arrest for driving under the influence. We work tirelessly to defend your rights and ensure you receive the best legal representation possible. Contact John L. Buckley as soon as possible to schedule a legal consultation.