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3 reasons Breathalyzer tests can return bad results

On Behalf of | Oct 20, 2021 | Dui

To many people, chemical evidence is the gold standard for criminal court. The idea is that physical evidence gathered in a scientifically appropriate manner can build a stronger criminal case than witness statements or circumstantial evidence. 

While it certainly is true that chemical evidence is valuable for criminal proceedings, that does not mean such evidence is infallible. You can look at driving under the influence (DUI) charges as a perfect example. 

Those accused of a DUI will often have a field chemical breath test on record, commonly called a “Breathalyzer” test. Many people who fail a chemical breath test will feel like they have no choice but to plead guilty to DUI charges. However, there are actually numerous reasons why a chemical breath test might return inaccurate results.

Improper maintenance or calibration of the testing unit

Chemical breath tests rely on rapid chemical analysis, which requires accurate software and the calibration of the sensors that performed the reading. When police departments do not adequately maintain their breath test units or do not have records about test maintenance, that may put the validity of those test results in question. 

Failing to account for medical issues

There are numerous medical issues that could affect the accuracy of a chemical test. Anything from your diet to blood sugar issues could give a false positive reading. Medication that you take to control other medical conditions might also affect the accuracy of the breath test. 

If there is a mistake with the administration of the test

Even if the person performing the test is healthy and the device itself works properly, the officer could potentially make a mistake while administering the test that compromises the results. 

There is plenty of documentation about how breath tests can lead to false-positive results and charges against innocent drivers. Exploring how chemical testing fails can give you an idea about the right defense strategy for your DUI charges.