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Can Breathalyzer results be wrong?

Chemical breath tests are popular law enforcement tools. Although it is a brand name, many people refer to any breath test as a Breathalyzer test. Almost everyone pulled over for suspicion of impaired driving or involved in a car wreck may have an officer ask them to perform a Breathalyzer test.

Police officers can determine how much alcohol is in your bloodstream through the chemical analysis of a breath sample that you provide during a traffic stop. These devices scan the provided sample for molecules of alcohol and extrapolate what they find to produce your blood alcohol concentration, which they express as a percentage.

If a test shows that someone has a BAC of 0.08% or higher, they can get arrested for driving under the influence even if their conduct in the vehicle was perfectly safe. Many prosecutors rely almost exclusively on breath test results and build their case against an alleged drunk driver. Do Breathalyzer tests ever return inaccurate results?

 An uncalibrated device will not be accurate

Any machine intended to produce accurate measurements will require careful design and good software. Those utilizing these devices will frequently need to calibrate the device to make sure that the readings it provides are accurate. If the manufacturer releases software updates or recalls components of the device, the police department using the test will need to upgrade the software and change components in the testing unit that could be faulty.

Without adequate maintenance and frequent calibration, the test results returned by chemical breath test units could put innocent people behind bars.

How do you challenge breath test results?

While you understand that there can be flaws in the process of chemical breath testing, you may worry that a court won’t take your claim seriously.

An attorney understands the process necessary to challenge breath test results in criminal proceedings. They will request maintenance records from the police department, which will help them determine if there may have been an issue with the unit. They will also help you explore your secondary explanations for why the breath test may have failed, such as your undiagnosed diabetes.

Recognizing that breath test results can be wildly inaccurate may give you the courage you need to fight back against drunk driving charges.

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