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Can a Breathalyzer Test be Inaccurate? DUI, DWI

Can a Breathalyzer Test be Inaccurate?

4 years ago by Justin M. Schiks
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Whether this is your first time being pulled over for potential drinking and driving in Minnesota or you have been down this road before, you probably know you will be asked to take a breathalyzer test.

For decades, this test has been one of the tools that law enforcement and the prosecution used against DWI suspects when charging them with a crime.

While they rely heavily on them for the evidence they provide, the question remains: are they always accurate?

The answer is no, not always. This is why it is imperative that you have an experienced Woodbury, MN DWI Lawyer on your side when you are facing DWI charges. 

Why are Breathalyzers Used?

In all states, drivers who have a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of 0.08 percent or more can be charged with a DWI as they are presumed to be legally intoxicated.

Law enforcement must have ways to prove what your BAC was at the time you were stopped.

The most accurate is a blood test, but these require taking the subject to a clinic or a hospital.

A breathalyzer is ideal for use in the field as they are portable and easy to administer. They also provide immediate results. 

Breathalyzer tests can be used by a law enforcement officer to establish probable cause, but the results might not always be admissible in court.

The problem with breathalyzer tests is that they are not always reliable. Your Woodbury drunk driving accident lawyer will work to determine if your results were possibly skewed and challenge their admissibility. 

Factors that Make a Breathalyzer Test Inaccurate

Breathalyzer results are not always reliable. The accuracy of a breathalyzer test depends upon many factors.

The administrator of the test must be skilled and careful.

Your Woodbury, MN DWI Lawyer may be able to use these factors as a part of your defense.

Potential factors that can cause unreliable results include:

  1. The presence of specific foreign substances such as mouthwashes, toothache medicines, and breath fresheners which all can contain alcohol
  2. Calibration which must be done regularly
  3. How new the batteries are in the device
  4. Software wh can occasionally experience a bug or a glitch just like computer software
  5. User error—although breathalyzers are user-friendly, they still demand attention to detail
  6. Inconsistency—to be accurate, breathalyzers need to be performed on the same subject several times as they rely on fuel cell sensor technology 
  7. The environment such as the presence of chemicals in plastics or adhesives or the presence of paint fumes or varnish

Contact a Skilled Woodbury MN DWI Lawyer

We have more than a decade of experience representing clients just like you and a proven track record with thousands of dismissals, acquittals, and successful expungements.

Our results speak for themselves. Our DWI Lawyer represents clients near the areas of Woodbury, St. Paul, Roseville, Maplewood, White Bear Lake, Mendota Heights, Oakdale, Stillwater, Eagan, Inver Grove Heights, and Cottage Grove.

Get your legal case review with a Woodbury, MN DWI Lawyer at JS Defense, PA, by calling (651) 968-9652 or complete our online contact form. The sooner you reach out, the sooner we can help.

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This page has been written, edited, and reviewed by a team of legal writers following our comprehensive editorial guidelines. This page was approved by attorney Justin M. Schiks who has more than 20 years of legal experience as a personal injury attorney.

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