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What can affect Breathalyzer accuracy?

On Behalf of | Sep 7, 2021 | Criminal Law

The results of a Breathalyzer or chemical breath test performed during a traffic stop could have massive implications. If the results show that your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is over the legal limit of 0.08%, you will – at minimum – most likely be arrested, handcuffed and processed.

You could spend the night or even the rest of the weekend in lockup before being brought before a judge. You could lose your license. And, if you plead guilty or you are convicted, you might lose your job or have limitations on your future employment opportunities.

Simply put, a chemical breath test can change the course of your life. Unfortunately, sometimes they can return inaccurate results for a broad range of reasons.

User error or inadequate maintenance

One of the reasons that chemical breath tests return inaccurate results is that the person administering the test makes a mistake in how they handle breathalyzer device.

The device itself could be defective or, perhaps, not sufficiently calibrated or maintained to meet the standards.

Improperly maintained devices could return inaccurate results that lead to people getting arrested when they never actually broke the law.

Your health, medication and diet can affect the test

There are numerous ways in which you could inadvertently contribute to an inaccurate breath test result. For example, if you are diabetic or pre-diabetic and are unaware of your blood sugar issues or you are not taking necessary medication, you could fail a chemical breath test without actually being over the legal limit.

Certain medications prescribed by your doctor, like specific kinds of asthma inhalers, could also impact the accuracy of the test and result in a false positive. Even the food you eat (or when you eat) could affect the accuracy of a breath test.

Each case must be evaluated to determine if health and dietary issues or the breathalyzer device itself may have caused an inaccurate test result. Challenging breath test results could play a part in your defense against drunk driving charges.




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