Drinking and DWIs: 3 Things That Can Cause a False Positive on Your Breathalyzer Test

The holidays are just around the corner, which means party season is about to begin. Between the office parties and the family get-togethers, there are going to be plenty of opportunities to have a few drinks. If you're going to be driving home from the parties, you want to make sure that you avoid a DWI.

Having one or two drinks while at a party usually won't be enough to get positive results on a breathalyzer test. However, there are some situations that may lead to a false positive on a breathalyzer test.  Before you head out for those holiday parties, take a look at some of the things that could lead to you accidentally testing positive for elevated blood-alcohol levels.

Mouthwashes or Breath Sprays

You had a drink at the office party a few hours ago. On your way home, you see flashing red and blue lights in your rearview mirror. Worried that the officer might smell alcohol on your breath, you squirt a few quick blasts of breath spray in your mouth.

Unfortunately for you, most breath sprays contain alcohol, and your mouth is now coated with the spray. Because breathalyzer tests actually work by measuring the alcohol concentration in your mouth and breath, you're probably going to test positive for alcohol.


The drinks you had at dinner aren't mixing well with the spicy foods you ate. You start belching on the way home. Each time you belch, the gases from your stomach come up in your mouth—including the fermented gases from the alcohol you drank at dinner.

As the officer places the breathalyzer in your mouth, you belch one more time. Those stomach gases are now going to be read by the breathalyzer, which may elevate your alcohol reading just enough to give you a false positive.


You have diabetes, so you don't drink alcohol very often. But tonight, you had a glass of wine with dinner. The wine interfered with your blood sugar and now you're feeling a little dizzy and disoriented. The officer pulls you over and smells alcohol on your breath. You're given a breathalyzer test and show positive for elevated blood alcohol content. Unfortunately, type 1 diabetes can cause false positive readings on breathalyzer tests. 

If you've been accused of drunk driving, and you know you aren't drunk, contact an attorney like David A. Mansfield to defend you. In future cases, it may be in your best interest to deny the breathalyzer test. This is particularly true if you've been belching or if you suffer from diabetes. You'll be taken to the police station, but that will give you the opportunity to contact an attorney who specializes in DWIs.