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3 Surprising Ways You Could Fail a Breathalyzer Test

Drunk driving is a very serious problem in the United States, and for this reason, many police stations have begun to crack down on the practice. If an officer suspects that you’re under the influence of alcohol or any other illicit substance, then they will pull you over and more than likely will administer a breathalyzer test.

albers dui not drunk

Breathalyzers are usually very accurate and are an important tool in the war against drunk drivers. However, they aren’t flawless. There are actually several other reasons a breathalyzer may indicate a high blood alcohol content (BAC) besides you being drunk. Here are 3 surprising ways that you can fail a breathalyzer test without being drunk.


The human body naturally produces the chemical compound acetone, which oxidizes in the same way that your body processes ethanol. The average person doesn’t produce enough acetone to create a measurable reaction but people with diabetes do, as a diabetic’s acetone levels are hundreds or thousands of times higher than the average person’s. The infrared beam of the breathalyzer can’t distinguish between ethanol and acetone, resulting in a possible false-positive for anyone with diabetes.

Asthma Inhalers

Whether your inhaler has ethanol in it or not, studies have found that those who use inhalers tend to register higher BAC levels. In one particular study, conducted in Spain, every single one of the test subjects had a baseline reading of zero. Then after a puff from the inhaler, every one of the subjects had a reading over the legal BAC limit. You could still be arrested even if your high BAC is solely a result of your inhaler. If this happens you should seek the aid of a DUI lawyer.

Different Lung Sizes

Not everyone is made the same, and some of us have smaller lung capacities than others. People with smaller lung capacities may be unable to take the test at all, as it requires that you breathe for 4-5 seconds and hold at least 1.5 liters of air. Often times people with smaller lung capacities will register BAC levels well over the limit, even though they haven’t had a single drink. Conditions that can lead to a smaller lung capacity include:

  • Scoliosis
  • Fibrosis
  • Bronchitis
  • Asthma
  • Emphysema

Work With an Experienced MD DUI Lawyer

If you’ve been charged with a DUI and you believe your high BAC may have been caused by something other than alcohol, you can benefit from working with an experienced Maryland DUI lawyer. Ross Albers has handled countless DUI cases over the years and always fights for his clients. If you have any questions regarding your MD DUI case, don’t wait around. Give us a call today, our team of trained MD DUI lawyers is standing by and is ready to assist you in any way they can.

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