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Potential errors when administering a Breathalyzer test

On Behalf of | Sep 22, 2021 | Firm News

You have probably had that unsettling experience that comes with flashing lights in your rearview mirror and the sound of a siren coming after you. Often, what happens next can be life-altering in many ways. If the police direct you to take a Breathalyzer test, the outcome can have a monumental effect on your life and liberty. A positive Breathalyzer test result means that you are operating a motor vehicle while above the legal limit for your BAC, and this can set the ball rolling for your prosecution.

By driving in Maryland, you are deemed to have consented to take a DUI test should you be lawfully arrested on suspicion of drunk driving. This unspoken consent is known as Maryland’s “implied consent law.” However, there are times when the Breathalyzer test result can be inaccurate, leading to a false arrest and prosecution.

Here are common reasons why the Breathalyzer test result may be inaccurate:

Improper calibration

It is important that the Breathalyzer equipment is routinely calibrated to ensure an accurate reading. When used frequently, the breath test device’s sensors can become saturated to result in inaccurately high readings.

Error with the equipment’s software

While the device’s hardware collects your breath sample, its software is responsible for interpreting the collected sample to determine your BAC level. The device’s BAC result can be inaccurate if the software is old or outdated.

Presence of non-alcoholic substances in your breath

It is not unusual for the Breathalyzer device to mistake other substances for alcohol and deliver incorrect results. Substances like breath fresheners, mouthwashes and acetones tend to be present in the breath in high concentrations, especially if you are diabetic. The device can also register false results if you have recently inhaled glue, gasoline or a thinner.

Law enforcement officers commonly use Breathalyzer equipment to measure individuals’ BAC levels. Some devices are portable so they can be easily carried around by law enforcement officers while others are designed to be stationary at the police station. If you feel the Breathalyzer result is inaccurate and you are about to face a wrongful DUI charge, you might want to seek help to challenge the validity of the test result.