According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 1.5 million people are arrested in the United States for being under the influence of alcohol every year. If you have ever found yourself arrested/convicted for DUI, then you are aware of what kind of affects it can have on your life. A first offense DUI charge for an offender in Mississippi is a fine up to $1,000.00 plus cost of court and even possibly a jail sentence for up to 48 hours. However, there are several contributing factors that can result in a false positive when conducting a breath test.
How is an offender’s breath alcohol level measured?
The most common breath test used by law enforcement officers in the field is the handheld portable breath test. This device measures a single breath test by blowing into a tube that then produces a whistle sound. This reaction produces an electrical current that then triggers the indicator’s lights on the device.
I am a smoker, could that be the reason why my breath alcohol concentration (BAC) registered so high?
Scientific research has proven that smokers will have a higher breath alcohol level. Even if the offender is completely sober but has been smoking cigarettes, the breath test will show a reading as if the offender has been drinking. Smoking can cause a compound produced in the liver in small amounts that looks like a byproduct in the metabolism of alcohol. When the offender adds a drink or two in conjunction with smoking a cigarette, the indicator on the breath test can possibly register a higher reading than alcohol alone. This is because the breath tester will combine the alcohol in the body with the effects of smoking.
Smoking also has the effect of slowing down the absorption rate of alcohol into the bloodstream. Even though the breath test shows a higher concentration of alcohol than is present in the offender’s bloodstream, the offender is actually absorbing the alcohol more slowly and is likely to be less impaired that a non-smoking offender. In simpler terms, if the offender is a smoker, the offender is likely to be less impaired than what the breath test says he/she actually is.
Can other foods or drinks cause an offender to have a false positive on a breath tester?
The simple answer to this question is yes. The breath testing equipment is a highly sensitive piece of machinery. Due to the high level of sensitivity, offenders can fall victim to a high false positive reading when the test is administered. A list of common household foods that can affect the accuracy of a breath tester are as follows: honey buns or glazed cinnamon rolls, ripe or fermented fruit, sugarless gums, breads (especially white or sourdough), protein bars, hot sauces, and foods prepared or cooked with alcohol (i.e, beer, liquor, or wine). Other common household items that can cause a false positive on a breath test are: over-the-counter medicines, such as sleep aids or cough syrups, certain vitamins, mouthwashes containing alcohol, breath fresheners (particularly breath sprays), and denture creams/adhesives.
Enlist the Help of a Qualified Attorney Today
Although law enforcement officers in Mississippi are trained and taught techniques on how to prevent a false positive breath test, these techniques are not always effective. If you have been searching for a qualified, experienced criminal defense attorney in Mississippi, look no further than Vic Carmody Jr., P.A. We have an experienced staff of attorneys, and we know the common errors that are made by law enforcement officers when administering breath tests. Over the years, we have helped numerous defendants as they strive for the best possible outcomes. Book your consultation today, and we can help you take these steps right away.