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Can Breath Tests Provide Inaccurate Results?

Breath test

If you are facing a DUI prompted by the results of a breathalyzer, you are right to be concerned. Virginia takes DUI cases seriously. You are facing significant penalties when you are convicted of a DUI, so finding any way to fight back is crucial.

Breathalyzers are used to determine a driver's blood alcohol content. While they may be helpful in putting dangerous drivers behind bars, the truth is they do not always offer the most accurate insight into a driver's level of inebriation.

Unfortunately, breathalyzer test results can be wrong. However, even if the test puts you over the legal limit to drive, your defense attorney may be able to call the results into question during your trial. This guide will show you how your test for a DUI could have resulted in a false positive.

Machinery Can Be Faulty

Certain types of breathalyzers are more accurate than others. Even fuel cell breathalyzers, thought to be among the most accurate devices, can pose errors as they are still susceptible to biological errors and different types of interference. While these devices are more accurate than the picture painted by anecdotal evidence, they are not infallible.

The machinery needs to be calibrated as well because breathalyzers are so sensitive. Improper calibration means the breathalyzer will be inaccurate. For example, the temperature setting being wrong could impact how the breathalyzer estimates your blood alcohol content significantly.

The breathalyzer the officer uses must also be on the list of state's list of approved devices to be used in court. While law enforcement officers know this — and typically only use approved devices — your attorney should check just in case.

Procedures Can Be Faulty

Sometimes it is the police officer administering the test that makes an error. If the officer fails to follow proper protocol, the court might invalidate the entire test. You can prove the procedure is not valid with a dashcam video and witness testimony.

The police officer must also understand the best way to keep testing consistent. Because of this necessity, the police officer must have you take the test several times, achieving close scores each time.

Health Can Be Faulty

Even your own health could impact a breathalyzer test. For example, individuals who have excessive mucus in their systems are more likely to test for higher alcohol content than others. The health conditions that create this problem include emphysema and asthma. These conditions also decrease lung capacity, which makes taking a breathalyzer test more difficult.

Additionally, individuals with diabetes are also at higher risk for inaccurate results. The reason for this fact is because the condition may prompt acetone to show up on a breathalyzer. The result is a false positive on the breathalyzer test.

Individuals with acid reflux are also more likely to test positive on a breathalyzer, even if they haven't been drinking in the last couple hours. This health condition causes acid to move up the digestive tract rather than down. Alcohol you drank earlier could make its way back into your mouth, influencing the breathalyzer.

Challenge a Faulty Breathalyzer

When you are facing charges of DUI, you need a strong defense to avoid losing your license, spending time in jail, or spending money to pay hefty fines. Even a single DUI can impact your life significantly.

A criminal defense attorney who understands DUI law knows how to fight back against faulty breathalyzer tests, whether they are caused by a change in body temperature or if the problem is linked to calibration of the device itself.

Do you think your breath test was wrong? It might have been. Call Myers Law, P.C. today to speak with a knowledgeable attorney who understand your plight. We can determine if you have a strong case for court.