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3 reasons false-positive OUI breath tests happen

On Behalf of | Jan 19, 2021 | DUI/OUI |

Few things can raise your heart rate faster than seeing flashing lights in your rear-view mirror. If an officer suspects you may have a blood alcohol concentration above 0.08%, he or she may ask you to breathe into a testing device. 

While the testing device should accurately measure the amount of alcohol in your bloodstream, it may also fail miserably. If you receive a false-positive result, it may be due to one of the following three reasons. 

1. Calibration

Like with any machine, breath testing devices require regular calibration and maintenance. The officer who uses the device should keep comprehensive documentation of each of these. Put simply, if an officer skips calibration or incorrectly calibrates or maintains the device you may fail an OUI breath test. 

2. Storage

Just as officers must take steps to calibrate testing devices properly, they must also store them correctly. The device’s manufacturer has precise instructions for storing it when not in use. If the officer stores the device is in extreme temperatures or in high humidity, it may no longer produce accurate results. 

3. Contamination

To function properly, the OUI breath test requires a clean breath sample. Unfortunately, the sample is vulnerable to contamination from any of the following: 

  • The foods you eat 
  • The medical conditions you have 
  • The medications you take 
  • The personal hygiene products you use 

When you are beside the road as part of an OUI stop, you do not have much influence over whether your breath sample has contamination. Still, if you believe you provided a contaminated breath sample, you may have legitimate grounds to question the reliability of the test’s results.