After taking a breathalyzer test, the number that appears could be the reason you are arrested. With so much at stake, it’s crucial that breathalyzers accurately measure blood alcohol concentration (BAC) value. What you may not know, though, is there are a number of reasons why your BAC may be incorrect after a breath test. It’s important to know these reasons so you can challenge your results and build a strong defense against DWI charges.
Our defense team at Kenneth E. Belkin, Esq. is here to cover some of the common factors that impact the accuracy of BAC readings.
Factors Involving Law Enforcement
Not just anyone can use a breathalyzer device. Police officers must go through proper training before using such devices during traffic stops or at the station. If the police officer did not complete the training or they did not pass, but still conduct such tests, then the results can be questionable.
Additionally, law enforcement officers are required to maintain the devices themselves. Like with all technology, breath test machines are vulnerable to broken parts, glitches, and other issues that can impact functionality. For this reason, breath test devices are required to be well maintained to ensure they are in working order. One of the biggest issues regarding the devices themselves is calibration. Law enforcement is also required to recalibrate their breath test devices at set intervals. For example, recalibration may be required every 10 days. However, this is a step that many law enforcement officers neglect. In this case, the results can be questioned based on the accuracy of the uncalibrated device.
Factors Based on the Driver
There are a number of factors that drivers may be unaware can affect their BAC results.
First, underlying medical conditions can skew BAC results. This is because some conditions affect the way the body processes alcohol, as well as where the alcohol settles in the body.
Some medical conditions that may affect BAC results include:
- Acid reflux
- Kidney disease
- Liver disease
Breath test results may also be skewed depending on the driver’s activity immediately prior to the stop. For example, if the driver uses lip balm or mouthwash shortly before being asked to take a breath test, then those acts could affect the results. The breathalyzer may pick up on the alcohol in the mouthwash and produce a result stating that the driver is under the influence. This is because breath test devices cannot read the difference between drinking alcohol and other types of ethanol. Additionally, if the driver burps or vomits within 20 minutes prior to the test, then the results are likely to be inaccurate. Law enforcement knows this and if they witness the driver burp or vomit, they must wait before administering a breath test.
Challenging BAC Results
Unfortunately, many people are unaware of how inaccurate BAC readings can be. This is why it is crucial that you work with an experienced defense attorney if you are arrested after ‘failing’ a breath test. An attorney with DWI experience will understand the science of DWI, the inner workings of breath test devices and machines, and the different defenses available that fit your case. DWI cases are shockingly complicated; never take your chances by trying to defend yourself.
New York City DWI Defense
Failing a breathalyzer test does not necessarily mean that you broke the law. As you can see from the above information, there are many factors at play that must be considered when moving forward in a DWI case. Allow our team at Kenneth E. Belkin, Esq. to help you challenge the results of your breathalyzer test and ultimately protect you from the harsh consequences of a DWI conviction. Reach us online or call our team at (718) 395-6755.