When someone is given a breath test after being arrested on suspicion of drunk driving, they may assume that there’s nothing else they can do. They take the test, it shows that they are over the legal limit, and they figure that they have no choice but to accept those charges. They think of the breath test as a very scientific device that measures alcohol content and clearly puts them in violation of the law.
You don’t want to take this legalistic of a view of breath tests. Yes, they are useful scientific tools that the police have. No, this does not mean that they are always correct or the results are always valid. Consider a few reasons why a breath test could be wrong.
It wasn’t calibrated recently
Generally speaking, police departments have schedules for calibrating their breath tests. They’re supposed to do this on a consistent and regular basis. This ensures that the results given by the breath test are then going to be accurate. If the breath test has not been calibrated but has instead been neglected, then you can’t necessarily trust those results.
The officer didn’t administer it properly
The person giving you the breath test may just be a police officer who hasn’t done it very many times in the past. You’re not necessarily in a scientific lab or working with someone whose entire job is to give out these tests. If the officer makes a mistake, that could severely alter the results of that test. Similarly, it’s important to ask whether or not the officer was ever trained to use the type of device that they’re using.
Something else influenced the test
In some cases, outside factors can also influence the results of that breath test. For instance, it has been found that taking a breath test very quickly after using mouthwash might show that you have a higher level of alcohol in your system than you really do. This is because the test is picking up the alcohol that is still in your mouth, not necessarily the alcohol content of your blood. A similar problem occurs when the test is given out right after someone has had a drink. They may only have had one drink and may not be over the legal limit, but the results could be skewed if there is still alcohol in their mouth.
What options do you have?
These are just three reasons that a breath test can be wrong, but you can see why it’s so important to carefully consider all of your options and never to take the results of that test for granted.