Even though breathalyzer tests have become the standard for officers to detect a person’s level of intoxication, or Blood Alcohol Content (BAC), they may not be as accurate as they’re advertised to be. Here’s what you should understand about the potential misconceptions about breathalyzer tests.
Understanding Breathalyzer Tests and How They Work
Three types of breathalyzer machines exist: fuel cell testers, semiconductor testers, and infrared spectrometry. Infrared spectrometry is the most accurate of the three, however, it’s a much larger machine that typically is reserved for use by police departments, drug and alcohol treatment centers, and hospitals.
The most common type of breathalyzer used by police officers during a DWI stop is a fuel cell tester. This machine reacts chemically with the alcohol in a person’s breath, generating a small amount of electricity. The greater the amount of alcohol in the person’s body, the more electricity will be generated, and the higher the BAC reading will be.
Can Breathalyzers Be Inaccurate Sometimes?
When you are stopped for drinking and driving, the police officer must follow a certain protocol to ensure that nothing can interfere with the test results. That said, many officers still ignore this protocol, making the evidence inadmissible in court. Your breath test results may also be inaccurate if you:
- Had a drink right before being pulled over, even if you’d consumed no other alcohol
- Have a health condition like acid reflux or diabetes that raises the levels of alcohol in the mouth but not the bloodstream
- Work with volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in your job or for home improvement projects
- Were tested with improperly calibrated breathalyzer equipment
A Defense Against Positive Breathalyzer Test Results
What you do next after being pulled over and charged with a DUI is important. You can attempt to defend yourself, but this almost never pans out the way you would expect. A skilled attorney, however, can dig into the evidence the prosecution is holding against you and dismantle it point by point. This can raise enough doubt that you’re unable to be convicted of the crime.
Contact Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer Chad Lewin Today
California treats drinking and driving very seriously and convicted offenders face harsh penalties including jail time and hundreds or even thousands of dollars in penalties. Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer Chad Lewin understands how to protect clients’ rights and pursue the best possible outcome in their case. Call now for your consultation at (800) 458-1488.