What to Do If You Get a False Alcotest Positive in a DUI Arrest

Officer holding Alcotest machine
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on reddit
Share on linkedin

Put simply, an alcotest or Breathalyzer test analyzes the contents of your breath to determine the concentration of alcohol in the blood. In principle, the machine works fine and is based on a solid principle, however, it can misreport the situation. A false positive means that even if you are sober, it may report you as drunk, falsely. This will lead to a DUI arrest, and the situation will be all the more disturbing considering that you’ll be wrongly accused in such a scenario.

This happens and more often than you think. If you are wrongly accused in such a case, it is important to understand your options so that you can act reasonably and avoid trouble for yourself. Getting rough with the arresting officer is never a good idea, even if you’re being wrongly accused, instead, you should keep a grip on your senses and make smart decisions to be out of the mess as soon as possible. Your DUI defense attorney will be your palisade against this barrage of false accusations; just stay calm, and this whole nightmarish episode will hopefully come to an end soon.

Let’s begin with understanding the problem:

Why Do Breathalyzer Tests Give False Positives?

Alcotests have a bad history of giving false results, sometimes, the cause is technical, other times, there is an issue with the way the test is performed. But in any case, if you are wrongly accused, you have rights, and you should act smartly to exercise them.

The most important factor that can give a false positive for a Breathalyzer test is medication. Certain prescription medicine for asthma, cold, and cough, for instance, can give a wrong positive for an alcotest. Avoid getting behind the wheel if you’ve had some.

If you use breath sprays, mints, or certain mouthwashes that contain alcohol, to freshen up your breath, then beware that these products will spike up the readings for an alcotest, even if you’re not drunk.

On top of this, diabetic people, patients of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), acid reflux, asthma, and several other diseases can be tested positive on a Breathalyzer test even if they are not drunk in reality.

The problem may also lie in the equipment itself, as with any other device, the Breathalyzer can also become faulty or may misreport the readings if not calibrated correctly. Lastly, if the test itself was not conducted correctly then the results will be erroneous. For instance, if you’ve just had chewing gum, they must wait for at least 20 minutes before administering the test.

Thus it is not all too farfetched, a false positive is very much possible with an alcotest, so if the machine gives a positive reading, don’t assume that you are guilty of something you did not do. The law is not meant to suppress your freedoms, it protects them, now let’s see how you can best handle such a situation.

What To Do If Your Breathalyzer Test Falsely Shows Up As Positive?

Your behavior will matter a lot here, don’t misbehave with the arresting officer – mistakes are possible; just let them know that you are not drunk, very politely, for the record. No need to get rough or defensive, show them that you are a calm, reasonable person so that they treat you with respect as well. Here are a couple of things you need to understand:

  • Stay calm and cooperate within reason
  • Don’t resist arrest
  • Don’t give any statements or answers until you’ve discussed things with your lawyer
  • Ask not to be handcuffed during the arrest
  • Don’t give your consent for a car search
  • As soon as possible, get in touch with your lawyer

Contact Our Portland DUI Defense Lawyers Today

It is a hard pill to swallow, but you’ll have to be a bit patient if you are to prove your innocence. The law guarantees you the right to legal representation, and you don’t have to give any statements until you’ve discussed the matter in complete detail with your DUI defense attorney. If the results were false, then you’re in the clear, and your lawyer will see to it that you are allowed to go free. Just remember to keep your cool in such a stressful situation, this will make all the difference!

Call the Trilogy Law Group if you ever run into such trouble, we will see to it that your rights are respected, and you get through this mess as soon as possible.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on reddit
Share on linkedin


DUI in Portland: Why Does False Positive Testing Happen?
DUI Charge: What Are The Different Types
Professional License and DUI Convictions
Sobriety Checkpoint: How to Conduct Yourself to Avoid Suspicion

Law Firm

compass arrows



Lisa Breuer
I've known Aaron for several years, and while I've never needed an attorney for my own legal needs, he'd the the first one I'd contact if the situation ever arose. As a member on an interview panel for an attorney position years ago, I was thoroughly impressed with not only his professional background, but his sharp mind for legal matters, as well as his strong work ethic. I think a person will be very well represented if they hire Aaron Tribble for their legal needs.
Stephen Butterfield
Great Experience! Joe went above and beyond to take care of my all my needs and concerns. He was great with communication, and keeping me posted with everything going on, on a regular basis. I would highly recommend Joe Frick Law, The Boise DUI guy!!! Thanks for everything!
Ramandeep Kaur
I highly recommend Boise DUI Guy. I was very depressed and unsure of what to do after the DUI charges. Thanks to Joe for helping me out from such an serious legal issue. I would like to say thank you to Boise DUI Lawyer and I appreciate the work that was done with my case. Great experience dealing with you.