How accurate are breath test devices?

On Behalf of | Sep 5, 2022 | Criminal Defense |

When a California law enforcement official asks you to take a breath test during a traffic stop, quite a bit hangs in the balance. If your breath test indicates that you are under the influence of alcohol, you may face any number of serious penalties, including jail time, substantial fines and alcohol abuse class obligations, among others.

Yet, BACTrack notes that there are certain variables that have the potential to throw off the accuracy of a breath test and make it appear as if you consumed alcohol before driving, even if you did not do so. Some of the factors that have the capacity to offset breath test device accuracy are as follows.

Improper or infrequent calibration

To work as intended, a breath test device must go through regular calibration. It also needs to have functioning batteries. If the device’s batteries are on their way out, or if the device never underwent calibration, it may result in the device’s results proving invalid.

Administrator errors

Breath tests are relatively easy to administer. However, the administrator does have to take certain steps when giving you the test, and if he or she makes any administrative mistakes along the way, it may impact the validity of the breath test results.

Environmental factors

Situational and environmental factors may also make breath test results inaccurate. The presence of certain types of adhesives or fumes in the vicinity may also alter breath test readings.

The strength of a DUI charge depends largely on the results and accuracy of a breath test. If you are able to show that your test results were invalid, it may result in the dismissal of your drunk driving charge.