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3 explanations for why people fail breath tests while not drunk

On Behalf of | Sep 14, 2022 | Criminal Defense

A chemical breath test is often an important part of the driving while intoxicated (DWI) arrest process. It provides chemical corroboration for a police officer’s claims that your driving showed signs of impairment.

Frequently, drivers who fail a chemical breath test, even if they still can’t believe they failed the test, think that the only possible response is to plead guilty to the pending DWI charges. However, you can potentially challenge a failed breath test and avoid a conviction.

What are some of the ways to fight back against a failed chemical breath test?

Review the maintenance records

Out-of-date software or infrequent calibration will compromise the accuracy of a breath test device. Police departments should maintain records of the training that they provide to officers and the maintenance that they perform on each individual testing unit. If there are gaps in those records, you may be able to use that as part of your defense strategy.

See a doctor for medical testing

One of the most common reasons that people fail chemical breath tests without having had anything to drink relates to a very common medical issue. Adults who have developed type 2 diabetes but do not yet have a diagnosis may not have their symptoms properly managed.

Unmanaged diabetes can push the body into a state of ketoacidosis, which will lead to acetone in the breath that you exhale. Acetone will result in a failed test. There are other health conditions, like auto-brewery syndrome, that you may not know you have until after you have a failed breath test pushing you to find a diagnosis.

Provide existing medical records

If you take certain medications, like specific asthma inhalers, those medications could affect the accuracy of the breath test. You may not have known about that issue before performing the test, but you have medical records showing that your doctor prescribed you a drug that could cause a false positive.

Records of health issues and medications that affect the accuracy of a breath test could be as compelling to the courts as evidence that the police department failed to properly maintain the testing unit. Learning more about how people fight back against DWI charges can help you plan your own defense strategy.