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Are breathalyzers always accurate?

On Behalf of | Sep 11, 2023 | Drunk Driving

A breathalyzer measures how much alcohol is in the air one breathes out, which is an estimate of the amount of alcohol in the blood. Therefore, a breathalyzer measures blood alcohol concentration (BAC). The police can use the results of the test to make an arrest for driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol.

But are these devices accurate? This guide discusses the accuracy of breathalyzers:

Proper calibration

A breathalyzer should be calibrated regularly in order to give accurate readings. If a device is not calibrated or the calibration is conducted improperly, it may produce inaccurate results. Breathalyzer manufacturers usually suggest how often a device should be calibrated. You can ask to see police records to show they have complied with the recommendations.

Incorrect administration of the test

A police officer who administers a breathalyzer test should be certified in using that particular device and administering the test according to state guidelines. If an untrained officer performs a breathalyzer test, you might be able to contest whether the evidence is valid and whether it should be admitted in court.

Other factors

Factors outside the device may also affect its results. If you eat food that contains alcohol or use alcohol-based mouthwashes or breath fresheners, you may get a false positive. Medications that contain alcohol may also affect the readings.

If you fail a breathalyzer test, you don’t need to just accept the results. If you think they are wrong you can challenge the accuracy of the device. With legal guidance, you can learn more about the best way to fight a DUI charge.