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Are Breathalyzers always accurate?

On Behalf of | Oct 15, 2018 | OUI Defense

Receiving a conviction for operating under the influence in Massachusetts can have serious consequences, and it can potentially leave you with large fines and an inability to get around, among other repercussions. When you receive an OUI conviction as a college student, however, you may face additional consequences. If, for example, your OUI conviction is a felony and you are currently receiving financial aid, your conviction may impact your ability to receive financial aid for a given period.

Because the stakes associated with an OUI conviction are so considerable for Massachusetts college students, it is critical that the breath test authorities administered to you at the time of your arrest provided accurate results. Breathalyzers are not immune to error, however, and there are several factors that can lead to false readings. These factors include:

Improper calibration

Breathalyzers, or the devices authorities use to conduct your breath test, are extremely sensitive devices, and they require periodic calibration to ensure that they work properly and produce accurate results. Because a seemingly small difference in your Breathalyzer’s reading can potentially affect everything from your freedom to your finances, it is critical that the device used to determine your level of impairment underwent proper calibration to ensure accuracy.


If a law enforcement official asks you to submit to a breath test and you have diabetes, note that your condition may lead to a falsely elevated Breathalyzer reading. How? Diabetics are prone to producing certain levels of acetone, which is something a Breathalyzer can pick up on, leading authorities to assume that it came from alcohol consumption.

Electronic interference

Electronic interference is yet another factor that can offset Breathalyzer test results and potentially threaten your college career and your ability to earn a living. Interference can come from any number of different avenues, including police radios, cellphone towers and similar sources.

Given how potentially serious the ramifications associated with drinking and driving are for today’s college students, you may be wise to investigate further if you have any doubt about the accuracy of your breath test results.


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