Breathing Health Conditions That Could Affect Your Ability To Use A Breathalyzer

Posted on: 18 July 2019

When a police officer instructs you to blow into his or her Breathalyzer to determine whether your blood alcohol is over the legal limit, you'll almost always receive an instruction to continue blowing until you're told to stop. Most people can do this successfully, regardless of any alcohol impairment, but the process of blowing hard for several seconds isn't something that everyone can do. If you stop blowing before the Breathalyzer takes its reading, the officer might believe that you're trying to dupe the test and could arrest you on suspicion of DUI. However, you may have a health complication that affects your ability to blow.


Those who suffer from asthma often find themselves short of breath, which may impede the ability to properly blow into a Breathalyzer. If you have this health condition, you may not be able to follow the police officer's instructions to continue blowing until you're asked to stop. This could especially be true if you were pulled over on the suspicion of DUI in a situation that was less than optimal. For example, if your traffic stop occurred on a hot, muggy day with poor air quality, you might have been experiencing shortness of breath to begin with.


Emphysema is a serious health condition that affects your lungs. People who have smoked for prolonged periods of their lives can often develop this disease, and it's serious enough that it can be a contributing factor to someone's death. If you have emphysema, you almost certainly deal with shortness of breath. As such, blowing into the Breathalyzer for a period of several seconds will almost be impossible.


Although it's perhaps not as well known as asthma, pleurisy is another condition that affects the lungs. It, too, can result in shortness of breath and would dramatically affect your ability to properly use a Breathalyzer. Breathing with pleurisy, especially when attempting to breathe deeply, can be very painful, which is why you'd likely stop before the Breathalyzer was able to register a reading. For each of these scenarios, arguing that you have a breathing condition won't be enough to get your DUI charge dropped. Your attorney will likely require evidence from your family doctor or from a lung specialist who can attest that what you're saying is true. Armed with this evidence, your DUI attorney may have a good chance of getting your charge dismissed in court.

For more information, contact a DUI attorney near you.