If you find yourself charged with drunk driving, the penalties can be quite harsh. Once you are pulled over on suspicion of drinking and driving, you will likely be asked to submit to a breath test so that authorities can determine whether you have enough alcohol in your bloodstream to exceed the legal limit. The results of that breath test can have major effects on your finances, your career and even your personal relationships moving forward, so it is critical that your breathalyzer device is working and administered properly. There are several factors that can hinder the breathalyzer's ability to do its job, and the breathalyzer itself, too, must meet certain standards. Factors that can lead to an inaccurate breathalyzer reading include:
A poorly calibrated device
Breathalyzers are highly sensitive devices, and with good reason. Very small differences in blood-alcohol readings can make the difference between whether you are charged with a crime or not, so it is in your best interest to be tested with a properly calibrated breath test device. Breathalyzers have to be calibrated at predetermined intervals, and they also must be administered by someone who is certified to do so. If you believe your breathalyzer device was improperly calibrated and that this caused it to produce a higher blood-alcohol level than you actually had, a lawyer may be able to secure calibration and maintenance records to help argue your case.
Breathalyzer test results have also been tossed out because of environmental issues that may have contributed to false readings. For example, certain chemical compounds and paints have the ability to affect the results of your test, and electronic interference, such as strong radio waves or cellphone signals, too, have been said to impact test results.
Your breathalyzer test results may also be inaccurate if you burp or vomit within a certain period prior to taking the test. Most law enforcement officials are aware that these acts can impact your test results, and that is why they are generally trained to keep a very close watch on you immediat ely after pulling you over to make sure you do not burp or vomit. If you do, authorities are supposed to wait a certain amount of time before they can test you again and get an accurate reading.
Breathalyzers serve an important purpose, but they are not free from error. If you are facing criminal charges due to what you believe was a false breathalyzer reading, consider contacting an attorney.