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Are Breathalyzer tests always accurate?

On Behalf of | Mar 20, 2021 | Dwi/dui

Contrary to popular belief, Breathalyzer tests aren’t always accurate. In fact, your Louisiana attorney might bring up this point to get the test results thrown out in court. While the results are generally accurate, certain factors could skew the test results and produce an inaccurate reading.

What could affect the results of a Breathalyzer test?

An officer might charge you with drunk driving if the results of the Breathalyzer test suggest that you have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or more. However, other factors could have affected the test results. For example, if you drank alcohol within the last fifteen minutes, the Breathalyzer might give you a higher reading even though your BAC is less than .08. Even using a product that contains alcohol, such as mouthwash could skew the results.

Your drinking habits could also affect the results of the Breathalyzer test. If you drank three alcoholic drinks in a short period of time, you’ll probably have a higher BAC than if you had those same drinks over a period of three hours. People who weigh more also tend to have lower BAC levels because their bodies dilute the alcohol. Even your gender could affect the test results. Men’s bodies process alcohol faster than women’s, so they tend to have lower BAC readouts.

In some cases, the Breathalyzer itself might have made a mistake. Any type of machinery is fallible, and your DWI/DUI defense attorney could point out that the test has a history of inaccurate readings. It’s also possible that the officer interpreted the results incorrectly.

Can you get the Breathalyzer results thrown out in court?

Breathalyzer tests aren’t infallible, but that doesn’t mean that the judge will automatically exclude them. Your attorney may have to prove that the results can’t be trusted. If the officer gave you a blood or urine test, those results can be much harder to challenge.

In any case, your attorney might look for any possible reason to get the results thrown out. If the results of the Breathalyzer test were the only evidence that the prosecution had, they’ll find it much more difficult to pursue the charge.