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Can a Breathalyzer test be faulty?

On Behalf of | Mar 1, 2022 | DUI

You probably have some knowledge about the Breathalyzer test, which is the test used to determine if someone has alcohol on their breath during a traffic stop. The police use these tests to gather evidence to show that someone is driving while impaired. They may also use this test to determine if someone may be impaired due to other reasons, such as because of taking impairing drugs or suffering from a medical emergency.

The problem with using Breathalyzer tests is that they are not 100% accurate. According to one report, thousands of people may end up in jail annually because of faulty tests.

There is no guarantee of accuracy with a Breathalyzer test

Unfortunately, not all Breathalyzer tests are reliable. Although most police officers will use approved equipment, these tools may not be maintained properly. This is particularly likely if there is no one at the station who is trained to clean and repair the machinery.

It has been found in the past that some police departments used stale chemical solutions to test drivers, and in another case, there were animals found in the test machine located at the station. Faulty source codes were linked to some issues with Breathalyzer test results, too.

Beyond problems with the maintenance and repair of this machinery, it’s also possible that officers may not be trained to test those they stop. The right training is important, because performing the test incorrectly may lead to a false positive. For example, if someone burps during a Breathalyzer test, that burp, if containing alcohol, may boost the results higher than the person’s true blood alcohol concentration.

Additionally, enough tests have to be given to make sure they’re accurate. At least two tests should be given within the correct time frame (this varies by machine) to make sure the results are close enough together to be accurate.

To put it simply, not all Breathalyzer tests are accurate, which is a problem for people in the United States. If you are accused of driving while impaired and believe that the test was inaccurate, it’s important to speak out and let your attorney know. You may be able to challenge the results and protect yourself against the DUI charges.