Can a breathalyzer test be wrong?

Yes, it is possible for the results of a breathalyzer test to not accurately reflect the amount of alcohol that is present in your system. Therefore, the continued use of breath tests in New York as a way to determine a person’s level of intoxication may have the unfortunate result of causing you to face a charge of driving while intoxicated even if you are innocent.

If you suffer from any kind of illness that affects your breathing such as asthma, your breathalyzer results may be skewed by your inability to exhale the way a normal person would according to ATTN. Your result could also be inaccurate if you used mouthwash shortly before taking the test. In addition, the test may be biased against you if you are older or female. Since men and younger people typically have a larger lung capacity, they do not need to take as deep a breath for the test to register and therefore they may not exhale as much alcohol as a person whose lungs are a smaller capacity.

In order for the machine to get an accurate reading of your blood alcohol level, it must receive air that comes from deep within your lungs. However, the level of alcohol that comes out when you exhale can be affected by things like mucus and air that that escapes from parts of your body besides the deepest part of the lungs.

Since perfecting the process of capturing breath that accurately reflects how much alcohol you have in your bloodstream is so complicated, the result is that some brands used by law enforcement may in fact be more reliable than others. However, despite their shortcomings, the use of the breathalyzer as the standard for determining your level of alcohol intoxication persists.