How do breathalyzer errors impact DUI cases?


If a police officer suspects that you are driving while under the influence (DUI), they must have probable cause to pull you over and conduct a field sobriety test. During a field sobriety test, a law enforcement officer will ask you to perform several physical tasks to determine whether you are intoxicated. Alongside the physical tests, they will ask you for a chemical test. This will likely involve a breathalyzer. A breathalyzer is an electronic device that you blow into. It measures your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to determine the percentage of alcohol in your system. If you blow over the legal limit, you will be charged with DUI. When charged with DUI, you may feel all hope is lost. However, a breathalyzer can sometimes give improper readings which can result in the judge dismissing your case. Keep reading to learn about the most common breathalyzer errors that can benefit your case and discover how a talented Baldwin County Criminal Defense Lawyer can help you prevent harsh penalties. 

What are the most common breathalyzer errors?

When charged with DUI, it is imperative to retain appropriate legal representation as your lawyer will help you identify breathalyzer errors that can be used to build a solid defense and potentially lead to dropped charges. As mentioned above, a breathalyzer test administered by a police officer can sometimes give an incorrect reading. For instance, an inaccurate breathalyzer reading can occur if you belch, hiccup, or vomit before taking the test. Police officers are supposed to carefully observe your actions before administering a test to ensure an accurate BAC measurement. Therefore, if they see that you have done any of these actions, they must wait at least 20 minutes before giving you the test.

Additionally, a breathalyzer can give an improper reading if there is residual alcohol in your mouth. After consuming alcohol, the food between your teeth can absorb traces of alcohol, which can result in a higher BAC. Furthermore, an improper breathalyzer reading can occur if you have a slow metabolism. If you have a slow metabolism your body will take longer to absorb alcohol. Consequently, your reading may appear higher. Your breath temperature can also affect your breathalyzer reading. Breathalyzers are calibrated at 34 degrees centigrade. However, research shows people generally are closer to 35.5 degrees centigrade. Studies have shown that this can result in a 10-20% increase in your BAC level. Ultimately, any of these factors can have a significant impact on your case as your lawyer may be able to use an improper breathalyzer reading as a defense.

If you have been charged with a DUI, it is critical to hire one of our determined and skilled team members. A DUI conviction will negatively affect your life. To prevent the repercussions of this offense, allow our firm to defend your rights and interests.