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Issues that can register false positives on breath tests

Posted on August 26, 2018

No one wants to see the red and blue flashing lights of a Colorado police car in his or her rear view mirror as this typically signifies that the officer is attempting to conduct a traffic stop. If you pull over, you may think that all you need to do is be polite and cooperate, then everything will be okay. The problem is that this is only sometimes true.

If the police officer in question thinks you’ve been drinking or have committed some type of crime, things may get a lot worse before they get better. If the officer uses a semiconductor device to give you a preliminary alcohol screening breath test, you may wind up with a positive result, even if you did not consume alcohol. If that happens, it’s critical to know where to seek support.

How can that be?

You might think a basic breath test device either detects alcohol or doesn’t, plain and simple. The truth is that there are many extenuating issues that cause the machine to register a false positive. However, regarding driving under the influence of alcohol, a positive result is a positive result whether you consumed alcohol or not; it’s also all that an officer needs to formulate probable cause to make an arrest.

What issues can cause a device to register inaccurate results?

Are you diabetic? If so, you are at risk for a false positive breath test. Semiconductor devices may detect the ketones on your breath as though they were alcohol. Also, hairspray, cigarette fumes and certain kinds of mouthwash are some of many different products that can prompt false positive results on a breath test.

Results, consequences and options

Analysts say fuel cell test devices are more accurate than semiconductor machines. It ultimately doesn’t really matter which type of device a Colorado police officer uses because he or she can arrest you on suspicion of DUI for any positive result, regardless whether he or she used a semiconductor or fuel cell breath test device.

If you wind up in the back of a police car on your way to jail, it’s best to try to remain as calm as possible. You may be able to mitigate your circumstances if you seek guidance from someone well-versed in criminal law. If you can convince the court that the breath test you took was unreliable, it may help you preserve your freedom.