(Photo : Bigstock)

Drivers suspected of drinking are required to take a breathalyzer test. Many law enforcement officers in the field rely on alcohol testing devices to establish a person's blood alcohol concentration. How accurate are breathalyzers, anyway? Just so you know, the instruments that test alcohol levels aren't without error. More precisely, they sometimes give false-positive results. If you fail, that doesn't mean that you're guilty of drunk driving. However, you're not in a good situation either.

Did you know that some foods and even medical conditions can give off a false positive? Yes, you can fail a breath testing during a DUI stop because of the things you ate or the illnesses you're struggling with. If you're charged for driving under the influence, you could have your driver's license suspended and it's impossible to estimate the consequences that this type of situation can have on your personal relationships.

Eating certain foods could cause you to fail a breathalyzer test

Devices that are deployed to measure the amount of alcohol in a person's breath rely on one of the following technologies: a semi-conductor oxide sensor, a fuel cell sensor, and an infrared spectrometer. Owing to the fact that the alcohol concentration in the breath is linked to that in the blood, police officers can measure alcohol on the breath. Breathalyzers use a chemical reaction that involves alcohol to bring forward a color change. Now, you can have alcohol on your breath and not even be aware of it.

Certain types of foods, as well as beverages, contain traces of alcohol. For instance, wine is commonly used in meal preparation. The ingestion of alcohol is the same thing as drinking it. let's take another example. Cooking pastries and pizza can produce alcohol. Yeast depends on a fermentation process to make the dough rise, which in turn produces a small amount of alcohol. If you've consumed bread-like food before being tested for drunk driving, there is the risk of an incorrect reading. The point is that the amount of alcohol found in the food won't get you drunk, but it can get you in trouble, as you might register positively on the breathalyzer.

Generally speaking, you should stay away from:

  • Cinnamon rolls
  • Protein bars
  • Ripe or fermented fruit
  • Bread
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Dishes that incorporate alcoholic beverages
  • Hot sauces
  • Sugar-free gums

Keep in mind that the consumption of various food items can give a high alcohol reading. This is because food fermentation is creating alcohol gases. Even if your blood alcohol content is under the legal limit, you could be convicted for drunk driving if the law enforcement officer has reason to believe that you're a danger to society. It's important to monitor your diet if you plan to drive.

Breathalyzer tests can be wrong due to the medical conditions

You didn't hit the bottle, yet the police pulled you over for a suspected traffic violation. If you're ill or have a medical condition, the breathalyzer can give a false-positive result. Healthcare professionals, pharmacists, and even legal professionals agree with the fact that certain medical conditions can cause false readings and lead to a DUI arrest. Operating a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol is considered a criminal offense. This means that it will appear on your criminal record as a felony or misdemeanor.

In states like California, DUI isn't just a simple traffic violation. If you're arrested for drunk driving within 10 years of the first offense, you could end up spending time in jail. In San Diego, for example, the number of drunk driving cases continues to grow. Any criminal attorney San Diego can confirm that misleading blood alcohol concentration results can be very problematic. In other words, it can be very difficult to get a case thrown out in court. It may be difficult, but it certainly isn't impossible. A legal professional with experience in such matters can get the criminal charges dismissed before trial.

Getting back on topic, there are medical conditions that can negatively impact the breath test in a DUI case. Let's enumerate some of them, shall we?


What is likely to be found in the breath of a person struggling with diabetes are high concentrations of acetone. If you get pulled over by the police, it can be an awful experience. the acetone of your breath will lead to a positive reading on the breathalyzer test. Hypoglycemia, i.e. the condition of diabetes, can mimic symptoms typically associated with intoxication, such as confusion, dizziness, and ineptitude. Let the law enforcement officers know that you suffer from a serious medical condition.

Acid reflux

People with acid reflux test differently on alcohol breath tests as opposed to those who are in tip-top health. The explanation lies in the fact that the regurgitation determines the instrument that is used to measure the amount of alcohol to read alcohol from the stomach. A high reading is to be expected. If you suffer from acid reflux, it's best to have a medical practitioner examine you. it's something that needs to be investigated.

Heart disease

Maybe you have problems with the heart. This may come as a surprise, but heart disease can trigger a false positive on a breathalyzer test. Basically, you could generate a false positive. Any illness can elevate your blood alcohol level for a certain period of time. You have a different smell to your breath and the breathalyzer could pick up on that change. If you're convinced that you've been charged with a DUI based on false results, make sure to challenge the test results.

To sum up, breathalyzers aren't 100 percent accurate. Most of the time, they provide false readings. False-positive results need to be taken seriously due to the legal and reputation-related consequences. Attack the results of the breath test if you happen to test positive. There is no reason why you should be convicted of a felony DUI. So, don't plead guilty for driving under the influence.