If you are suspected of driving while under the influence of alcohol, you may be asked to submit to a Breathalyzer test. While the results of the test may be given considerable weight in a DUI case, there is no guarantee that they are accurate. Take a look at some of the factors that might impact a Breathalyzer device’s ability to do its job properly.

Health issues can impact a test result

Generally speaking, Breathalyzer machines don’t work as well on individuals who have an elevated body temperature. Therefore, if you have a fever, it may be difficult or impossible to determine your blood alcohol content, or BAC. The same might be true if you have diabetes, have recently vomited or have issues with acid reflux. In some cases, the simple act of using mouthwash or cologne will trick the machine into thinking that your BAC is higher than it actually is.

When did you have your last drink?

It can take up to two hours for alcohol to be fully absorbed into your bloodstream. Therefore, it’s possible that your BAC will go up while driving home from a bar or a friend’s house. You could be charged with DUI even if you were under the legal limit when you first got into your vehicle.

Is the device working properly?

Ideally, a Breathalyzer device will be calibrated after 250 uses to maximize the odds of obtaining accurate test results. Furthermore, it should be routinely inspected for signs of physical damage or other problems that may call its accuracy into question.

If you are charged with DUI, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you will be convicted of driving under the influence. It could simply mean that there was an issue with the machine used to test your BAC. An attorney may cast doubt on a Breathalyzer test result in an effort to obtain a favorable outcome in your case.



James Auricchio was admitted to the practice of Law in 2001. He entered private practice in 2010 after earning distinction as a State and Federal Prosecutor.

Named to the list of Superlawyers, in 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023 and 2024, a distinction awarded to less than 5 percent of all attorneys in New York State