Dentures May Affect a Breath Test Reading

One of the most common reasons people are arrested for DUI is they failed an on-site breathalyzer test. However, research shows that breathalyzers do not always provide accurate results. If your attorney can show in court that the breathalyzer was mishandled, poorly calibrated, or there were other reasons it gave a bad reading, it creates doubt that the driver was under the influence.

Thomas & Paulk, P.A. have gotten evidence thrown out of court for precisely this reason countless times before. As a result, many of our clients’ charges were dismissed before the trial even began. The dismissal also means the arrest can be expunged from your criminal record, so it’s vital to tell your lawyer anything that might cast doubt on the breathalyzer result.

Mouth Alcohol Causes Higher Breath Test Readings

Breathalyzers work by using an infrared light absorbed by alcohol in the mouth. When less light passes through the chamber of the breath test, the reading will appear higher. However, not all alcohol in the mouth is caused by alcoholic beverages.

One of the ways that a breathalyzer can provide a false positive BAC reading is if the driver was wearing dentures. Dentures in a person's mouth collects alcohol and food residue. Food residue traps more alcohol by absorption. In a breath test, this residual alcohol causes the breathalyzer to show a false BAC reading.

Mouth alcohol can also result from cough medicine or even mouthwash. Some breath tests claim that they can distinguish between mouth alcohol and alcohol from the lungs, but this has been disputed many times in the court. Additionally, diabetics often have “acetone breath,” a side effect of having ketones in the blood. Acetone in the breath could also contribute to a false positive on the breathalyzer.

Our Tampa DUI lawyers understand that breath tests can be unreliable, and we can work with you to reduce or eliminate the charges leveled against you. As former prosecutors, we know how to strategize against the state’s case by casting doubt on the evidence against you. Let us handle your case—we can fight for a dismissal of your charges or reduced penalties, depending on the weakness of the state’s case.

If you or a loved one was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, speak with an experienced Tampa DUI attorney at Thomas & Paulk, P.A. today. We have successfully handled 7,000+ cases, so call (813) 321-7323 to get a free case review.