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Residual Mouth Alcohol Can Cause Breathalyzer 'False Positives'

Most people believe that when a Breathalyzer - the equipment law enforcement uses to determine whether a driver's blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is above the legal limit - indicates that a person is driving under the influence, it must be true. In some circumstances, however, a Breathalyzer machine can, in fact, return incorrect results.

One common culprit for inaccurate Breathalyzer readings is residual mouth alcohol. Even when a person's BAC is not above the legal limit, he may have some unabsorbed alcohol in his mouth. The presence of this alcohol can throw off Breathalyzer readings.

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) recommends that police officers wait at least 20 minutes after stopping someone on suspicion of DUI before conducting a Breathalyzer test. The extra time after a stop is needed to allow residual mouth alcohol to dissipate. Sometimes, however, police officers do not wait the recommended amount of time and the test can be inaccurate.

A Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help

A conviction for DUI is not only costly, it can also damage your career and your relationships with family and friends. If you or someone you love is facing charges for driving under the influence, contact an experienced DUI attorney. A knowledgeable DUI lawyer can assess your case and help you protect your rights. For more information about what a DUI attorney can do for you, contact us today.

Source: CBS News, "New product helps prevent false DUI arrests, creators say," Jeff Chirico.