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Factors that can impact Breathalyzer accuracy

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Posted on January 30, 2018

Even if it is your first time facing a drinking-and-driving charge in Illinois, you can still expect considerable penalties with a conviction. Therefore, if you have any reason to suspect the results of your Breathalyzer test are anything other than completely accurate, you would be wise to investigate further.

With proper calibration, maintenance and administration, Breathalyzers, or devices used to assess your degree of alcohol impairment, are often accurate. However, there are a number of conditions and environmental factors that can cause these devices to produce false results.

Poor or inaccurate calibration

Breathalyzers are finicky devices, and for good reason – the stakes are high, and the difference between seemingly minute amounts of alcohol in your blood can mean the difference between driving away and facing serious consequences. Breathalyzers require regular, careful calibration to ensure accuracy, and improper calibration is a common reason they sometimes produce inaccurate results.

Blood or vomit in your mouth

If you have blood or vomit in your mouth when you take your breath test, know that this can also affect results. Typically, if a law enforcement official sees that you have blood or vomit in your mouth when administering your test, he or she will wait a set amount of time before trying to re-administer it.

Electronic interference

In some cases, technology can also impact Breathalyzer test results. Forms of electronic interference, such as police radios or signals from nearby cellphone towers, in the vicinity when authorities administer your breath test can also lead to a false Breathalyzer reading.


If you have diabetes and are facing a drinking-and-driving charge, know that your condition may play a role in your Breathalyzer test results. Sometimes, breath tests pick up on acetone in a diabetic’s system, and this can lead authorities to suspect you have been drinking, even if you have not recently done so.

If convicted of driving under the influence, you could face steep fines, community service and even jail time. Therefore, it is important that you have full faith that the results of your breath test are accurate.