Why Breath Testing Devices May Be Unreliable in a DUI Case

Factors that Can Produce a False Reading on a Breathalyzer Machine

why-breath-testing-devices-may-be-unreliable-in-a-dui-caseFor decades, police and prosecutors across the United States have blood alcohol tests, conducted with breathalyzers, to charge and convict countless individuals of drinking and driving. Unbeknownst to most people, though, breathalyzers are not that accurate—one study found that they produced a false result nearly 60% of the time. The equipment itself has an inherent margin of error of as much as .02%, easily the difference between innocence and a charge of the higher offense of driving under the influence (DUI) in Maryland. Furthermore, there are specific environmental factors that are known to produce false readings on a breathalyzer:

  • The alcohol fumes still on the machine from the last person tested
  • The dust particles that are produced when an airbag goes off
  • Certain medications that, by themselves, do not impair a person’s mental faculties, such as Albuterol, an asthma medication
  • Rubbing alcohol, cologne or similar substances on the skin
  • Alcohol from cleaning supplies on the skin
  • Fermented sodas, such as kombucha, as well as some energy drinks
  • Breath fresheners and some vitamins
  • Food cooked with alcohol, even if the intoxicating effect has been cooked out
  • Ripe or fermented fruits

Experienced Prince George’s County DUI/DWI Defense Attorney

Attorney Jonathan Scott Smith brings more than four decades of experience to criminal defendants throughout the Baltimore County area and across the state of Maryland, including people arrested for or charged with driving while impaired or under the influence. For more than 30 years, he has been consistently received an AV-rating (the highest rating possible) under Martindale-Hubbell’s Peer Review Rating System from his colleagues in the Maryland bar. He has been listed among the top 100 lawyers in Maryland listed by SuperLawyers and was designated a Top-Rated Lawyer by The American Lawyer Magazine. He has been the recipient of Martindale-Hubbell’s Client Distinction Award, an honor given to less than 4% of all lawyers nationwide.

Throughout his years in practice, Jonathan Scott Smith has successfully protected the rights of individuals facing all types of criminal charges. He will zealously protect your constitutional rights, taking the time to carefully investigate your case and confirm that law enforcement officers and prosecutors follow proper procedures when gathering evidence. He’ll interview all key witnesses and preserve all relevant evidence, so that he can prepare and present the most compelling arguments for your acquittal.

Attorney Smith has been listed among the top 100 attorneys in Maryland by the National Trial Lawyers Association, a “by invitation only” professional organization. He holds a 10.0 (Superb) rating as a trial attorney from AVVO, as well as AVVO’s Client’s Choice Award, with an average client review of 5 stars.

Proven Maryland Drunk Driving Defense Lawyer

Contact our office by e-mail or call 410-740-0101 for a free initial consultation. We represent criminal defendants in Carroll County, Frederick County, Howard County, Baltimore County, Prince George’s County and Montgomery County in Maryland.


  • Jonathan Scott Smith 10490 Little Patuxent Parkway, Suite 200 ,Columbia, MD 21044-4960

  • Call for consultation 410-740-0101