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Can a breathalyzer give a false positive?

If you are pulled over in Florida on suspicion of drunk driving, then you will likely be asked to take a breathalyzer test. This is when you breathe into a device that calculates the amount of alcohol in your system. However, the results of such tests may often be called into question because these tests can fail. In fact, according to ABC 7, there are specific things that could result in an inaccurate breathalyzer test. 

The way a breathalyzer works is that it measures the alcohol that has been absorbed into your mouth. Therefore, if you have consumed anything that could possibly leave alcohol in your mouth, it will register on the test. This could lead to a false positive reading. For example, mouthwash and cold medications are often culprits because both may contain alcohol.

At the same time, your reading may not be accurate due to alcohol leaving your system. If you burp, for example, it could affect the results. So, it is not always false positives that occur. This is why officers are supposed to watch you for 15 minutes before you take the test. This allows them to watch for anything that could throw off the test results. 

The good news is that a breathalyzer alone is not going to seal your fate when it comes to drinking and driving. Officers use various tools to assess whether you are under the influence. This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be taken as legal advice. 

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Ian F. Mann, P.A.
1424 Dean Street
Fort Myers, FL 33901

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