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DUI Charges: False Positives for Chemical Breath Tests

December 10th, 2015 at 9:17 am

Illinois DUI attorney, Illinois defense lawyer, Illinois criminal attorney, In Illinois, if you use the highways or roadways, you are considered to have given consent to chemical testing if you are arrested for driving under the influence under Illinois’ implied consent laws. A chemical test can either be a breath test, blood analysis, or a urine test, all of which are used to determine the blood alcohol concentration of a suspected drunk driver. You have a right to refuse to submit to chemical testing, but there are consequences for doing so, such as the automatic suspension of your driver’s license for refusal under 625 ILCS 5/6-203.1.

You would think that if you have not been drinking, then you would have nothing to fear in submitting to a chemical test, but this is not necessarily the case. There are a number of substances you can legally consume that can produce a false positive on your chemical test. Even if you have not been drinking alcohol, a false positive will cause you to be arrested for driving under the influence.

Breath Tests

Law enforcement frequently use a chemical testing method referred to as a breathalyzer test to put an estimate on a driver’s blood alcohol concentration. These tests work by assessing the amount of alcohol in the breath sample – and cannot distinguish the source of the alcohol.

Technical Problems Can Contribute to False Positives

A number of technical problems can produce a false positive breathalyzer reading. These are problems that have nothing to do with the suspected driver’s actions or behavior. Instead, these problems include the following issues:

  • Law enforcement failed to properly administer the breathalyzer test according to protocol;
  • The breathalyzer device malfunctioned; or
  • The breathalyzer device has not been properly calibrated.

Any of these technical problems could result in a false positive breathalyzer test reading, which could land you unfairly in jail for driving under the influence.

Substances That Can Contribute to False Positives

A variety of commonly consumed alcohol-based products have the potential to trigger a false positive in a breathalyzer test:

  • Some over-the-counter and prescription cough medicine have a high alcohol concentration, which can vaporize on the breath;
  • Certain mouthwash products and breath sprays have a high alcohol concentration to them;
  • Some alcohol-based acne treatment products that are used around the mouth and lips could contribute to a breathalyzer false positive; and
  • Some cosmetic products used for the lips can have alcohol components that can be detected by a breathalyzer test.

The alcohol in these products can vaporize and be carried with the suspect’s breath into the breathalyzer device, thus artificially inflating the actual alcohol content of the suspect’s breath.

Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley

Even if you blow a false positive on a breathalyzer test, you will be arrested for driving under the influence, and you will need to consult with an experienced DUI criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. If you believe that your breathalyzer test results were incorrect, your lawyer will need to get to work collecting the evidence to support your claim. Please contact a skilled Rolling Meadows DUI attorney immediately. The attorneys at the the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley are prepared to assist you. You can reach out to us today by calling (847) 394-3200.

 

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=062500050K11-501.1

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?ActID=1815&ChapterID=49&SeqStart=81900000&SeqEnd=84800000

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Written by Staff Writer

December 10th, 2015 at 9:17 am

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