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Kathryn L. Harry & Associates, P.C.
630-472-9700Available 24/7

Could Your Illinois DUI Arrest Be Due to a False Positive Breathalyzer Test?

Posted on in Criminal Defense

Being subjected to an alcohol breathalyzer test can be a nerve-wracking experience, even if you have had very little (or nothing at all) to drink. Unfortunately, false-positive breathalyzer tests do occur. There are various reasons for a false positive breath test, mainly due to chemical fluctuations in the body produced by medications, diets, and even environmental substances such as oil-based paints, gasoline, and paint removers.

According to an ABC News article, diabetics and serious dieters could have much higher than normal acetone levels due to distinct alterations in blood chemistry. Breathalyzers may identify this acetone as a form of ethyl alcohol, causing someone to be erroneously charged with a DUI.

Certain breathalyzers assume that everyone has a hematocrit level of 47 percent. In actuality, hematocrit levels differ between men and women, with men averaging 42 to 52 percent and women averaging 37 to 47 percent. Someone who exhibits a reduced hematocrit count may produce a false positive when given a breathalyzer test. Additional substances that could cause a false positive are traces of blood, dirt, tobacco smoke and vomit lying in someone's mouth

Breathalyzers are also sensitive to electrical interference from police radios or cell phones. In fact, people who were standing directly below high tension wires have been cited for DUI after their blood alcohol content test came back positive due to strong electromagnetic waves affecting the breathalyzers detection devices.

If you were ill with a fever at the time you were arrested for DUI, your temperature reading may have caused a false positive. A normal body temperature is around 98 degrees but for every degree higher than 98, a breathalyzer will experiences an eight percent increase in the blood alcohol content reading.

In addition, law enforcement officers are supposed to perform regular recalibration and maintain proper functioning of a breathalyzer. Failure to do so could result in a false positive and an unfounded DUI arrest.

In Illinois, a DUI is a serious charge.  Illinois DUI Laws state that a first offense could result in fines of $2000, one year in prison and loss of driving privileges for up to one year. A second DUI conviction can carry the same penalties except for stiffer loss of driving privileges. When arrested for a third time, an individual is charged with a serious Class 2 felony.

If you have been arrested unfairly charged with a DUI,  immediately contact a professional and experienced Illinois DUI defense attorney who can investigate whether a false positive breathalyzer test played a part in your undeserved DUI arrest.

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