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What Might Cause a False Positive on a Breathalyzer Test?

On Behalf of | Dec 9, 2019 | Criminal Defense

Driving on Michigan’s roads can be daunting, especially when you factor in bad weather, construction, and distracted drivers. However, one particular problem, drunk driving, can make the state’s roads even more hazardous. The Macomb Daily reported that Michigan’s drunk driving fatalities rose in 2018, with over 300 people dying in alcohol-related crashes.

Traffic stops and DWI checkpoints may curb some drunk driving incidents; however, some sobriety tests, such as the breathalyzer, may not always be accurate. If you get pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving, there are a few factors that may cause a false positive on this test.

If you believe you’ve had a false positive urine alcohol test, get your free consultation from our Grand Rapids attorneys at 616-366-9045 or online!


The short answer is: yes, it can.

Some medical issues could change the results of a blood alcohol breathalyzer test. For example, if you have type 2 diabetes, a condition called ketosis could create blood alcohol in your system, even if you have not been drinking. During this process, high blood sugar can cause glucose to ferment.

As a result, your breath might smell alcohol and could register a false positive result on the monitor. Therefore, you may want to inform the arresting officer that you suffer from ketosis if you get pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving but were sober.

What Else Causes False Results for Alcohol Test?

Many medications, including those sold over the counter, can cause a false result on a breathalyzer test. Even hygiene products like mouthwash contain alcohol, which may be detected during a roadside check. While these amounts are usually not as high as those caused by the actual ingestion of alcoholic beverages, they may cause an initial arrest and additional urine or blood testing.

The facts above are for informational use only and should not replace legal advice. For additional information, contact us here.