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The Wilson Law Firm

Breath Alcohol Tests Aren’t Always Accurate – False Readings Can Occur

Did you know that breathalyzer tests that Virginia police conduct on drivers they suspect to be driving under the influence of alcohol could be flawed? Most people do not realize that breathalyzer readings can be inconsistent and might not prove that a driver's Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) was over the legal limit. Just because the machine displays a number does not mean that this evidence cannot be refuted. In fact, breathalyzer equipment, as with any equipment, can be faulty and have room for error. 

There are many inconsistencies that can affect a breathalyzer test and cause false BAC readings in Virginia and across this nation. The equipment may not be calibrated correctly, which can cause the machine to produce inaccurate results. Also, magnetic interference, radio frequency interference and low batteries can cause the machine to malfunction and the readings to fluctuate up to as many as 1,000 points. 

Other unpredictable readings with a breathalyzer could be caused by any one of the following:

  • Medical Condition - Sometimes certain medical conditions such as diabetes and other conditions can create inaccurate and false BAC readings.

  • Body Temperature - The breathalyzer uses 93 degrees as a mark that a person's mouth temperature should be at; however, there are people with mouth temperatures up to 98 degrees. This can throw off a BAC reading.

  • Belch, Hiccup, or Vomit - If any one of these three activities are done, a breathalyzer test should not be conducted within 20 minutes of this act or else the test will be negatively affected.

  • Acid Reflux - This is when alcohol comes from the stomach into the esophagus which can increase a blood-alcohol reading and lead to a false positive.

  • Body Weight and Metabolism - Two people could drink the same amount of alcohol, but the smaller person will be more affected. Depending on how fast their metabolisms are, one of them could have the alcohol absorbed into the bloodstream at the time the test is taken.

 The breathalyzer unit has come under scrutiny with doctors, pharmacists, forensic consultants and other professionals because it has been known to lead to false blood-alcohol readings. Having an educated attorney who understands the flaws in a breathalyzer unit is critical to the success of your Virginia DUI case.

If you are innocent and are convicted of a DUI in Virginia because of a false positive test, it could be devastating. You may be arrested, fined thousands of dollars, lose your job, be given a hard time by your family, and more due to a flawed test.

A good DUI defense attorney can help your case, knows what to look for, and knows what to present to a jury. An experienced Virginia DUI attorney can help persuade the jury that the breathalyzer test is not accurate by showing the above information. Because of all of these different variables, your DUI attorney may be able to convince a jury that your BAC readings could be flawed.

Contact a knowledgeable Virginia DUI defense lawyer at the Wilson Law Firm and speak with attorney T. Kevin Wilson today. He knows what to look for and knows how to present your case in court. Call toll free at (800) DUI - LWYR or (703) 361-6100 to get your legal questions answered and determine your rights.

 

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