Breathalyzers known to give false readings

On Behalf of | Nov 2, 2018 | Firm News

In North Carolina, if police suspect you of driving under the influence of alcohol, they may pull you over and ask you to submit to a breath test. You may think you do not have the right to say no to a Breathalyzer examination, but you do, and you may want to, as these machines can give false readings. Just know that refusing this sobriety test does have its consequences.

How exactly does a Breathalyzer work? What can cause a false reading? Is it possible to fight breath test results? All are questions with pretty straightforward answers.

The Breathalyzer

There are various forms of the Breathalyzer. The two most commonly used either have semiconductor sensors or fuel cell sensors. Officials believe they are highly accurate, which is why North Carolina and various other states use them.

The Breathalyzer works by having a person breathe into a tube, which then passes the breath sample into a chamber where it reacts to special chemicals. The chemical reaction then translates into a percentage readout for the administering officer. If the percentage is above a certain point, you may be charged with DUI.

False readings

Despite being touted as highly accurate, many people know better. There are a number of things that can cause a false reading. Some of those things include:

  • High ketone levels
  • Mouthwash
  • Certain medications
  • Failure to calibrate
  • Software issues
  • Human error
  • Environmental factors

Still, Breathalyzers are the standard for checking for impairment.

Fighting results

If you gave in and submitted to a Breathalyzer test and received a high blood-alcohol content readout, it does not mean that a DUI conviction is definitely in your future. You may be able to fight the results. An experienced attorney will know what questions to ask in an effort to seek to have the evidence invalidated or tossed out.

A DUI charge can be a scary thing. The consequences of a drunk driving conviction can be significant. If you failed a Breathalyzer test, know that fighting your case will not prove easy, but that does not mean it is not impossible.

If you refused a Breathalyzer test, you may lose your license — even if just temporarily. Legal counsel can help you take the steps to have your license restored, if this is an issue in your case, and help you find the best way to fight the DUI charge filed against you.