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Accuracy of a Breathalyzer Test

Updated on March 22, 2013

Do You Have Doubts about the Validity of Breathalyzer Result?

Breathalyzer tests are not accurate always. If you have been charged with a DUI offense on the basis of the findings of a breathalyzer test, you can challenge the accuracy of the breathalyzer test on the basis of a number of factors.

Accuracy of a Breathalyzer Test

Driving under the influence of alcohol or other illegal substances kills many innocent lives. Despite of all the restrictions and strict DUI laws in the United States, the crime of driving under influence continues to occur. A large number of high blood alcohol concentration offenders don't hesitate to repeat their drunk driving offense. In order to keep DUI offenders off the road, law enforcement agencies introduced a roadside testing method that consists of breathalyzer test. There is a big question mark on the accuracy of a breathalyzer test. Those evidences that are collected with the help of a breath test can be challenged easily in the court of law on the basis of some factors.

Role of a Breathalyzer Test in a DUI Case
Role of a Breathalyzer Test in a DUI Case

Role of a Breathalyzer Test in a DUI Case

This test holds great importance in any DUI case because the severity of the DUI penalties is determined upon the readings of this test. If an individual refuses to take breathalyzer test, he or she is more likely to lose their driving privilege without further investigation. In addition, a presumption of guilt is often placed upon such individuals on the spot. That's why breathalyzer tests hold great importance in any DUI case and drivers should take it seriously.

Can You Challenge Breathalyzer Results?

In some cases, it is possible to challenge the findings of a breathalyzer test. It’s because these findings are often based on assumptions that do not necessarily apply to all drivers. There are certain important factors that can be used to challenge breathalyzer results. For example, background of the police officer who has taken the breathalyzer test, working and functioning of a breathalyzer device etc.

Factors That Affect the Accuracy of a Breathalyzer Test

There are a number of factors that leave a question mark on the accuracy of a breathalyzer test. Some of these factors include following:

Many breathalyzers do not take into account the gender, weight, height, metabolism and other important things of the person. Also, these devices don't assume that the tested driver is not an average individual.

In order to make conversions, many breathalyzer tests assume a particular ratio between breath alcohol content and blood alcohol concentration (BAC). The actual ratio for different individuals may vary due to which the findings of a breathalyzer test can not always be accurate.

Sometimes, a breathalyzer device may also run into different functioning problems. For example, a breathalyzer sometimes not only detects ethyl alcohol but it detects other compounds of the methyl alcohol group as well. In simpler words, a breathalyzer device can misrepresent the existence of other substances in human breath as alcohol content.

Bottom Line

What it all boils down to is that the findings of a breathalyzer test are not always accurate. Thus, those drivers that have been charged with a DUI offense and provided with a breath test, they can challenge their breathalyzer findings in the court of law with the help of an experienced DUI attorney.

How to Avoid a DUI Charge that is Presumptive on the Breathalyzer Test Findings?

Those drivers that have been pulled over for driving under the influence may refute a breathalyzer test by showing that they are not average individuals. In addition, they can also show that the conversion ratio doesn't apply to them based on their height, weight and gender. These drivers can also provide supporting evidences that they have been exposed to certain chemicals that contain alcohol that affected their blood alcohol concentration (BAC). In some cases, drivers can also raise objection on the handling of the breathalyzer by stating that the officer didn't properly handle their breath sample. Drivers can also raise objections on the proper functioning and working of the breathalyzer device.

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