Can DUI Tests Have False Positives?

Can DUI Tests Have False Positives?

Personal Injury Lawyer

When a driver is pulled over for a suspected DUI, they are typically tested using a field kit or breathalyzer machine. Law enforcement officers rely on these machines to determine whether the driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) is over the legal limit of 0.08 percent. Often, it’s these test results that serve as the linchpin to a DUI case.

Unfortunately, the results from these machines are not infallible. Many experts believe a variety of factors can cause a breathalyzer test to produce incorrect results. If you believe any of the situations below apply to your test or another error was made in your test, contact a DUI lawyer, like a DUI lawyer from Richard J. Banta, P.C., for assistance.

Calibrating the device incorrectly

There are specific calibration guidelines for follow for the use and maintenance of a breath tester. These settings are so specific that they should be done by a trained technician. Otherwise, the machine may produce faulty readings. If, for example, a breath test device has been used for over ten days or more than 150 times without professional re-calibration, its results can be called into question.

Doing the test too soon

Any alcohol that’s left in a person’s mouth can cause excessively higher BAC readings on a breathalyzer. This is why police officers are supposed to wait 15 minutes or longer before they test a person who is suspected of DUI. In addition, actions that can bring alcohol back into the mouth–such as vomiting or burping–call for a restart of that 15-minute buffer.

Not accounting for medications or health conditions

Some types of medications and health conditions can cause a breathalyzer reading to be inaccurate, including continual or temporary heartburn, acid reflux and gastrointestinal reflux disease. Any acid present on the stomach, mouth or esophagus can influence the test. If you have a medical condition that you believe could result in false test readings on a breath test machine, let your attorney know about it as soon as you can. You should also provide your attorney with a list of all the medications you currently take, including over-the-counter medicines and herbal supplements.

Contamination in the air

A breath test sample can be contaminated by factors in the environment, even if you may not think about it. Alcohol in cleaning supplies, paint chemicals, the alcohol from previous people who were tested and more can interfere with a breath test sample.

A DUI conviction can cost you in all areas of your life. You could end up in jail, have to pay several fines and the associated costs of a DUI such as higher auto insurance premiums, lose your job and even lose your right to drive legally. This is why it’s so important to not try to handle your case on your own, with so much at stake. Consult with a DUI lawyer in Denver about your case as soon as you possibly can. If there were issues with your test, your attorney can help build a case that demonstrates what really happened in your case.

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