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Can Breathalyzer Tests be Proven Wrong?

The breathalyzer is the most common chemical test used to determine blood alcohol content. These tests are generally fairly accurate, easy to conduct, give results quickly, and are non-invasive to those taking them unlike blood or urine tests. However, while many people think a breathalyzer can’t be fooled, they’re far from perfect and there are several ways the integrity of a breathalyzer test can be thrown into doubt. This is a problem for your prosecution because if there is even a shred of doubt as to the integrity of a piece of evidence, it can’t be submitted in court to be used against you.

On this blog, we’ll discuss a few of the ways your breathalyzer test could be ruled inaccurate on this Riverside DUI attorney’s blog.

Bad Calibration

As with any other mechanical measurement machine, it needs to be properly calibrated in order to produce accurate results. Calibration can only be done by properly-certified individuals in controlled environments and the process must be followed exactly in order to produce results that are within an acceptable margin of error. Even a single mistake in this calibration can jeopardize the results of your test and thus throw the integrity of the evidence into question.

There was a notable case in Colorado a little while back where this exact situation happened: a lack of proper certification as to the calibration of breathalyzer machines threw the evidence against thousands of convicted individuals into question.

Erroneous Testing

Breathalyzer machines have become pretty foolproof in terms of operating them correctly: computers and machines now do most of the hard part, making them simple to use. However, a trained and competent individual still needs to administer the test or else the results could be skewed. If there were any errors in the testing method, your test accuracy could be voided and the evidence collected would need to be thrown out due to a lack of integrity. Your DUI lawyer will likely request any video footage taken of your DUI test to figure out if the officer administering the test made any mistakes in doing so.

Mouth Alcohol

In order to be intoxicated, the alcohol must enter your blood stream. This doesn’t happen instantly. However, if you down your first drink and immediately take a breathalyzer test, you might be surprised to find that you fail, even though you don’t feel anything and the alcohol hasn’t had nearly enough time to get into your system. This is the phenomenon known as “mouth alcohol” and comes from the breathalyzer detecting traces of the alcohol you have consumed that have not yet been absorbed into your system because they’re still in your mouth. This obviously isn’t impacting you, and thus you haven’t actually committed the crime of driving under the influence because you weren’t under the influence while driving. Even more surprising to many people: alcohol-containing mouthwashes can also leave traces in your mouth, contributing to breathalyzer inaccuracy.

Arrested and charged with DUI? Call Blumenthal & Moore to request a case evaluation as soon as possible!

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