If you’re pulled over for suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI) in Georgia, the police officer will likely ask you to take a Breathalyzer test. While many people assume these breath tests are 100% accurate, that’s not the case. There are actually several common factors that can cause false positives, which can result in drivers being charged with DUI when their blood alcohol content (BAC) levels are far below the legal limits.

Positive doesn’t mean you’re guilty

The test takes a sample of your breath to determine your BAC, and a reading of .08 or higher is the legal limit for adult drivers in Georgia. However, just because a tiny bit of alcohol was still on your breath from drinking hours before doesn’t mean you were breaking the law when the cops pulled you over. Residual alcohol from long before can actually hide in your mouth inside its soft tissue or be absorbed into your chewing gum.

The following are some other reasons why the breath test may show a false positive:

  • Other residual alcohol can be in your mouth from recent mouth washing, cough syrups, breath sprays, vomit and even some asthma inhalers.
  • Certain medical conditions like diabetes cause high acetone levels, which can be easily confused with alcohol in the breath tests.
  • Low-carb diets high in protein and fat can also produce elevated acetone, as can working in conditions exposed to acetone like as a painter.
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) causes stomach contents to come back up the digestive track, including any alcohol, which can contaminate the breath test.
  • The Breathalyzer wasn’t properly calibrated, the mouthpiece was contaminated by a prior use or other police error.

Getting legal help

If you are facing charges of DUI, it’s important that you understand your rights and seek out an experienced Georgia defense attorney who can present your options, fight on your behalf and see that you get the fairest treatment possible under the law. Don’t let the suspicion of drunk driving ruin your life, especially if you’re innocent of the crime.