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Are Breathalyzers always correct?

On Behalf of | Sep 28, 2021 | Criminal Defense

If you are pulled over because of driving oddly or making mistakes on the road, one of the things that the officer may ask you to do is to take a Breathalyzer test. By law, you accepted that you would give a breath sample when you received your license, so in most cases, you should provide that sample willingly.

When taking the test, one of the things you should be aware of is the possibility of the test being inaccurate. A Breathalyzer test may be inaccurate under a number of conditions, such as if:

  • The test is administered incorrectly
  • The second test is administered too soon or too late after the initial test
  • You burp or regurgitate into your mouth, which may create a false positive
  • You have a medical condition such as diabetes

These and many other conditions may lead to a Breathalyzer test being inaccurate.

Breathalyzer tests help officers establish probable cause

On their own, Breathalyzer tests may not produce enough evidence to result in your conviction. However, they do help establish probable cause for the traffic stop and any subsequent arrest.

After a positive Breathalyzer test, it’s normal for an officer to ask you to do field sobriety tests as well. These help measure your balance and the ways your eyes are moving to determine if you are impaired.

In combination, the Breathalyzer test and field sobriety tests are fairly accurate, but that doesn’t mean that you have no opportunity to defend yourself. It is totally possible for the officer to administer these tests incorrectly or to have no good cause for stopping you to begin with.

If you’re stopped by the police, know your rights

If you are stopped by the police and are asked to give a breath sample, be aware of your rights. You don’t have to admit to drinking or try to talk your way out of an arrest. Follow simple commands to give a breath sample, and then go willingly if the officer wants to arrest you. At the police station, you can ask to speak with your attorney to begin building your defense against an OWI.