Call now for a no-charge, no-obligation case evaluation.

Inaccurate breath tests might lead to DUI charges

For people who are stopped on a suspicion of drunk driving, one of the tests that is sometimes used to determine if they are intoxicated is the breath test. Last week, we discussed how proper calibration of a breath test machine is vital; however, improper calibration isn't the only thing that can affect a breath test result. A variety of other factors can also affect the result of the breath test. Our Maryland readers might like to know more about this.

There are some basic factors, such as the hematocrit level, that people can't control that play a part in the blood-alcohol content percentage that is given by the breath test. Because of the limitations of a breath test machine, the assumption is made that all humans have an identical hematocrit level. That isn't the case, men have an average hematocrit level of 47, while women have an average level of 42.

If a person has a hematocrit level that is above the male-female average of 45, the BAC reading will be higher than the actual concentration level. That means that a man who has a hematocrit level of 52 who gets a reading of .10 on the breath test would actually have a BAC of .08.

Other factors that can affect BAC readings on breath tests include body temperature, stress, certain medications, snuff or chewing tobacco use and some medical conditions. Heartburn and diabetes are two medical conditions that can lead to false high readings.

The fact of the matter is that breath tests aren't all that accurate. They are meant to be a preliminary test, but not all jurisdictions view them that way. Those who have been stopped and given a breath test prior to an arrest should learn about their rights to fight the charges placed against them.

Source: Alcohol Problems and Solutions, "Prevent Unjust Conviction for DWI or DUI Charges" David J. Hanson, Ph.D., accessed Feb. 19, 2015

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Contact Us To Discuss Your Options

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Get In Touch

Salisbury Office
208 Calvert Street
P.O. Box 33
Salisbury, MD 21801

Toll Free: 866-242-3785
Phone: 410-713-4465
Salisbury Law Office Map

Ocean City Office
9307 Chesapeake Drive
Unit D5904
Ocean City, MD 21842

Map & Directions

  • We offer free consultations for criminal cases, And we accept multiple payment methods, including MasterCard, Visa and Discover.
  • Spanish-language translation services are available / Servicios del intérprete disponibles.