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How accurate are DUI breathalyzer tests?

On Behalf of | Feb 17, 2021 | DUI Defense

When police arrest you for drunk driving, a lot of questions go through your mind. Will you have to spend more than one night in jail? What other penalties might you face? How will a DUI conviction impact your life?

One question you may not ponder is if the breathalyzer test you took before your DUI arrest was accurate. You likely assume the test provided trustworthy results. However, that may not be the case. In a 2019, New York Times report, the newspaper investigated how accurate breathalyzer tests are. The investigation showed that frequently breathalyzer results can be off by up to 40%. As a result, you could take a breath test that measured your blood alcohol content at .10, above the legal limit. In reality, though, your blood alcohol level might have been .06, below the .08 limit.

What causes inaccurate breathalyzer tests

Some of the reasons that breathalyzer tests are inaccurate include the following:

  • Law enforcement didn’t administer the test properly.
  • Law enforcement didn’t calibrate the breathalyzer machine properly.
  • Law enforcement didn’t clean the breathalyzer machine properly.
  • The breathalyzer machine had a software problem.
  • You have a medical condition, such as acid reflux or diabetes, that caused an inaccurate result.
  • You ate or drank something, like kombucha tea, that caused an inaccurate result.

When facing DUI charges

If you are facing DUI charges, you need to seek legal help. An experienced criminal defense attorney can review your arrest and see if an inaccurate breath test led to your DUI arrest.

A DUI conviction comes with many lasting penalties beyond facing fines and jail time. You can lose the ability to get certain jobs or training certifications. Your insurance rates can go up for years. That’s why you should take the right steps when facing DUI charges and get help to have your charges reduced or dismissed.