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Did you get a false positive on a breath test?

On Behalf of | Dec 10, 2021 | Criminal Defense

Alaska police often up their efforts to keep drunk drivers off the road during the holidays. Getting pulled over in a traffic stop is a sure way to put a damper on one’s holiday spirit. If things do not go well during the interaction between police officer and driver, things may get worse before they get better, especially if a person registers a false positive on a roadside breath test.  

Several types of food and medication can cause a breath test to detect alcohol 

When a police officer approaches a vehicle in a traffic stop and asks the driver to step out of the car, it is likely that the officer in question suspects the person of drunk driving. He or she may request a preliminary alcohol screening, which may include a breath test to determine if there are grounds to make an arrest. Of course, a breath test device could register a false positive for alcohol, especially in the following circumstances:  

  • Driver recently ate cinnamon rolls, protein bars, a fermented food  
  • Driver is a diabetic 
  • Driver ingested cough syrup before getting behind the wheel 
  • Driver has a heart condition or acid reflux 

For various reasons, each of these issues can cause a false positive reading on a roadside breath test device. This means that it is possible to get arrested for suspected drunk driving without ever having consumed an alcoholic beverage.  

What to do if that happens 

An individual facing these circumstances might want to argue with an Alaska police officer who says a breath test device has registered positive when the driver knows that he or she has not been drinking alcohol. Most people who have been through similar experiences would agree that it is best to remain calm and cooperate as much as possible while also taking appropriate steps to protect one’s rights as the case is adjudicated. One of the first things a person facing such circumstances can do is request a meeting with an experienced criminal defense attorney, who can bring important matters to the court’s attention.