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Are Preliminary Breath Test Results Always Accurate?

  • By: Laurence Thien
  • Published: December 4, 2020

Preliminary breath tests are not always accurate and no machine, nor operator of a machine, is beyond error. There are several ways in which a BAC test may give an artificially higher reading as the machine’s measurements can be rendered inaccurate by failure to calibrate the machine properly and timely. Similarly, some dental fillings have been demonstrated to increase erroneously the BAC result the machine provides. In short, all is not lost with a BAC result in excess of the legal limit. The inquiry simply cannot end there. 

Various other seemingly innocuous things can affect the reading of the machine, such as a low carb diet (Atkins/Keto); the machine reading and registering mouth alcohol and concluding an inaccurately high reading; GERD and/or acid reflux disease (the “gurgles” as we called it when were kids); and too many others to list here. If any of the above arguably apply in your case, there may be some play in the numbers.

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