Drunk Without Getting Drunk: False-Negatives from Breathalyzers


MouthwashDriving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a crime and police forces are improving their measures to apprehend these drivers to prevent road accidents. Unfortunately, not everyone is judged fairly.

One of the test for DUI is the breathalyzer. DNTrialLaw.com suggests that those who register positive in their breathalyzer test to be on their guard. Breathalyzer test can actually be erroneous and the following supports this.

Firstly, how does a breathalyzer work? Breathalyzer does not measure that blood alcohol content (BAC) but its presence in your breath may be a sign that it is also in your bloodstream. The breathalyzer actually measures electrical current that is usually produced when an ethanol is oxidized to acetic acid. The result of the breathalyzer test is approximated to your BAC.

Many factors may affect the result of the breathalyzer test and give false-negatives including these:


Alcohol is present in many things aside from liquor. For example, mouthwash contains alcohol that can give the cops a false-negative result. In an experiment, an attorney shows how a quick rinse can increase the BAC ratings over 10 minutes.


Acetic acid, which is commonly known as vinegar, is a naturally occurring compound in the human body. Humans produce an insignificant amount of acetic acid. However, people with diabetes tend to produce these a hundred or thousand times higher than an average person. This may lead to a false-positive test result.


Diet can also contribute to a false-positive. A ketogenic diet containing high-fat, low-carb and high protein diet may produce high levels of acetone in your body. The combinations in this diet contribute to fast burning of calories, which raises acetone levels. This can be detected by a breathalyzer.

Acid Reflux

If you are suffering from gastroesophageal reflux disease or acid reflux, you are also at a high risk of being detected with false positive. Drinking even a small amount of alcohol raises the acidity in your body and may result to higher than 0.08 BAC reading.

Failing the breathalyzer test is common without consuming alcohol. If your test result gives a false-negative, know your rights and immediately get a legal consultation.

About Faye Gonzales 1659 Articles
Meet our chief explorer, Faye Gonzales. With over a decade of travel experience, Faye is not only a passionate globetrotter but also a loving mom who understands the unique needs of family travelers. Her insights into family-friendly destinations and travel tips make her a trusted guide for parents seeking memorable adventures with their children.

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