The Inaccuracy of Breathalyzer Tests

In a DUI / drunk driving case, the prosecutor will rely on the results of a breathalyzer test to obtain a conviction against you. However, breathalyzer tests are not always reliable, and the results can often be tainted by other factors. In fact, recent scientific studies have shown that results can vary as much as 15%, and that breath tests can provide different results from blood tests as often as two out of every three times. Don’t plead guilty to drinking and driving just because police have a breathalyzer test result that puts you over the legal limit.

There are a variety of ways to that breathalyzer test results can be compromised:

  • The presence of other chemicals near the test subject can skew the results. For example, if you work with paints or other chemicals, or if you wear alcohol-based cologne or perfume, you can get a false reading. The use of mouthwash can alter the reliability of breath tests, as can vomit or blood in the mouth. Even high consumption of bread can lead to a false positive.
  • Other health conditions can affect the results. If you are diabetic, you may get an inaccurately higher breath alcohol reading. By the same token, if you are anemic (low blood iron), you can also test high. Furthermore, medication that you are required to take can combine with small amounts of alcohol to give a false reading.
  • There can be a break in the chain of custody. If you can show that the breathalyzer tests left the custody of police at any time, you can argue that the results could have been tainted when outside of custody.
  • At Laguna Reyes Maloney, LLP, every client receives a free initial consultation. Contact us by e-mail or call us at 717-233-5292 to schedule a meeting with one of our attorneys. We speak Spanish and understand the impact a criminal charge can have on your efforts to become or remain a permanent citizen.

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