Being arrested for drunk driving is scary. You do not want to lose your license, have a criminal record or spend time in jail. If you failed a breath test, you may think you have no options, and you will be found guilty of DWI. Do not give up so quickly.
The breath test may have been conducted improperly, or the results were inaccurate because of another substance. You may be innocent, and an experienced criminal defense attorney might be able to uncover the truth. Here are some reasons the breath test may have failed.
Not calibrated correctly
A breathalyzer test needs to be calibrated regularly, so it gives accurate results. As a breathalyzer is used, the sensor in it becomes saturated, and the results may become less accurate. Only a law enforcement officer who has been trained to calibrate the machine knows how to do so correctly. If the breathalyzer used during your arrest was not correctly calibrated, it is possible a judge could throw this evidence out.
Interference from electronic devices
Police radios and even smartphones can interfere with the electrical signal of a breathalyzer test. If this happens, the results may be inaccurate.
Ingested another substance with alcohol
Some mouthwash, breath fresheners, medications and aftershave contain alcohol. Though you do not consume aftershave, it is close enough to your mouth that the fumes could be detected. Any other substances with alcohol you consumed before a breath test can cause a breathalyzer to give a false reading.
Have a medical condition or on a diet
People with diabetes often have a high concentration of acetone in their breath. This is from their bodies breaking down fats rather than sugar. People who are on keto diets may also have this problem. When you are in ketosis, your body also burns fat and then releases acetone which can read as isopropyl alcohol. A person with hypoglycemia may also exhibit the same symptoms as an intoxicated individual, like being clumsy, confused or dizzy.
Used cleaning products and other chemicals
Paint fumes, varnish, glue, cleaning products and paint remover can also lead to a false positive. If you used any of these products recently, this is particularly true.
Failing a breath test and being charged with DWI in North Carolina may feel like your life is over. However, it is possible your breath test was inaccurate, and a criminal defense attorney may be able to uncover evidence that exonerates you.