High Breathalyzer Readings: What Can Cause Inflated BAC Percentages?

Published: 12th June 2009
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As many people familiar with DUI procedure will tell you, breathalyzers are not the most accurate way to test blood alcohol content, although they are frequently used in the field. There are various reasons why the readings they give can be inaccurately high.

Primarily, breathalyzers often read the amount of alcohol on your breath, in your mouth or in your throat, instead of reading the amount of alcohol in the air from your lungs. Breathalyzers are intended to test this air because it circulates the most closely to membranes carrying blood in the lungs, revealing the alcohol content in that blood. But oftentimes, this reading is skewed.

Eating gum or mints, using mouthwash, or having drunk alcohol recently can all skew the readings a breathalyzer gives. Additionally, behaviors that don't involve the consumption of alcohol can skew the reading as well. Because the breathalyzer devices pick up all alcohol compounds in the methyl group, not just the ethanol of drinking alcohol, behaviors that increase other alcohol compounds also increase the reading of a breathalyzer.

Recent dieting trends are one of these behaviors. Extreme dieting, fasting, or even popular diets like the Atkins diet can increase levels of acetones on the breath enough to effect the reading of a breathalyzer device. Recent studies on this phenomenon have show that dieting or fasting can increase acetones in the body enough to obtain breathalyzer readings of .06%; this reading will be additional to any blood alcohol level you have from drinking, making it possible for you to appear over the legal limit to drive without really being drunk.

The Law Offices of James E. Fabbrini have successfully defended against numerous fraudulent DUI charges. Our Chicago DUI lawyers can give you advice regarding your own DUI charges.

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