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Can a breath test be wrong?

On Behalf of | Mar 18, 2024 | DWI

A breath test is designed to measure a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Some breath tests are small and portable, used during traffic stops. Others are larger and more accurate, used at the police station. Either way, drivers are supposed to adhere to a legal limit of 0.08%.

When a breath test shows that a driver is over this limit, that driver may assume that there is nothing else they can do to protest their innocence. The test appears to be conclusive proof that they are impaired, and they know they’re going to be arrested. They may even assume a conviction is inevitable. But can they challenge that test?

A breath test can be wrong

If you find yourself in this position, you may be arrested for failing a breath test, but never assume that you’re going to be convicted. The test certainly can be wrong.

For instance, there are substances that can make it more likely that you’ll fail the test, like mouthwash. Additionally, burping during the test could cause it to have an abnormally high reading.

Even without external factors, perhaps the police officer made a mistake while administering the test. Maybe that officer never got the proper training. Maybe he or she used a breath test device that was the wrong make or model, or perhaps the police department never calibrated and maintained the devices they had on hand.

All of these issues could potentially cause the results of that test to be called into question. Without reliable results, it becomes much harder for the authorities to seek a conviction. If you are facing allegations of impaired driving, it’s very important to understand all the criminal defense options at your disposal.