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Can a breath test be inaccurate?

On Behalf of | Jun 22, 2023 | DUI Defense

It’s well known that field sobriety tests are rather inaccurate. A police officer may ask you to do the walk-and-turn test, but you trip on the side of the road and that officer arrests you for being impaired. You know that you aren’t impaired, but it’s far from a perfect test.

The alternative to this, in many cases, is that the police will administer breath tests. A breathalyzer can measure your blood alcohol concentration (BAC). This is seen as far more accurate than a field sobriety test, and officers check to see if drivers are over the legal limit of 0.08%. But is it correct to assume that a breath test is always accurate, or can you call the results of this test into question just like you would with field sobriety tests?

There are many reasons for inaccuracy

The truth is that breath tests are often wrong, and there are many reasons that the results may not reflect a person’s actual level of impairment.

For example, breath tests need to be calibrated. If the test was never calibrated, wasn’t set up properly, wasn’t maintained on schedule and was generally neglected, can the court trust the results of that test?

Additionally, a police officer has to administer the breath test. Have they been trained to do so? Did they make any mistakes while giving out the test? Even if the test itself is working properly, errors by the officers who are administering it can make those results unreliable.

As you can see, breath tests are not necessarily as flawless as a lot of people assume. Those who are facing charges need to know exactly what legal rights they have.



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