The breath test machine may mistake certain chemicals on a person’s breath for alcohol. The machine is designed to distinguish certain interfering chemicals from alcohol. One of the most common chemicals that is present on the breath and that is similar enough to alcohol to affect a breath test result is acetone.
Because acetone is so common, the breath test machines are designed to detect it and adjust the result accordingly. However, acetone may still account for the amount of the breath test below .01. For example, if your breath test result was .08 and you had acetone on your breath, acetone may make up for .009 of the result, making the true value well below .08. Other types of chemicals that may be reported as alcohol and that a person might be exposed to could account for a much higher portion of a breath test result without the machine detecting that the chemical is not alcohol. Such chemicals include:
Some chemicals may even account for an entire breath test result because breath test machines cannot distinguish them from alcohol at any level. These chemicals include:
A solvent that you have absorbed through your skin or by breathing vapors from the chemicals may be to blame for a false positive breath test result. It is important to talk to an experienced DUI attorney if you were arrested for DUI and you were exposed to solvents prior to your arrest.