A breathalyzer isn’t the perfect system to measure blood alcohol content. Police know this, the prosecution knows this and the courts know this, and they are all hoping that you and your defense team don’t know this. In fact, there are a number of different ways that your breathalyzer results may be faulty or invalid. Below, we share five reasons why your breathalyzer results may be wrong.
How Accurate Are Breathalyzers?
There are a number of ways in which your breath test results can be ruled invalid by a court. Here are five common reasons why the results are ruled unreliable.
1. Only Given One Test – In order to ensure they get a reliable reading, police usually administer multiple tests. However, sometimes if they are in a hurry or they believe the first test is all they need, they may only get one measurement. A good defense lawyer will attack the credibility of the reading if only a single test is administered.
2. Incorrectly Calibrated – Your car needs regular maintenance, and so too does a breathalyzer machine. They need to be checked and calibrated to ensure they are working properly and reading accurately. Your lawyer will check to see if the breathalyzer has been serviced at regular intervals, otherwise the reading may be thrown out.
3. Health Conditions – Certain health conditions can also throw off a breathalyzer. Diabetics can produce acetone in their breath, which can be interpreted as ethanol by a breathalyzer and produce a false reading. A similar problem can occur for patients with acid reflux and heartburn. If you have one of these conditions or believe you may have an undiagnosed issue that caused an inaccurate reading, bring this up to your lawyer.
4. Older Machine – Police generally use two types of breathalyzer machines to measure BAC. The more reliable machines have a platinum fuel cell, while the less reliable – but cheaper – have a semiconductor sensor. Semiconductor sensors are what you might find in a personal keychain breathalyzer, but they should not be taken as a reliable source, so if that’s what police are using, your lawyer will challenge the findings.
5. Unrelated Substances – A number of different household substances can be interpreted incorrectly by a breath test. Medications, cough syrups, chemicals in cigarettes and hairspray can all prevent a completely accurate reading, so if you have reason to believe they affected your test, talk to your lawyer.
If you believe your breath test was inaccurate, or you just want an experienced lawyer to challenge your case in court, reach out to Avery and the team at Appelman Law Firm