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Breathalyzer tests aren’t foolproof: Here’s why

Imagine being behind the wheel and having an officer pull you over. They might claim that you were driving in an unusual way or being reckless. They could claim that you have a light out or ran a stop sign.

Then, they might ask if you’ve been drinking. While you don’t have to answer that, they can continue to ask if you’ll take a Breathalyzer test. Refusing means you’ll automatically lose your license.

If you do take the Breathalyzer test, you should know that it’s not foolproof. These tests must be calibrated correctly, and the officer should give it to you in the correct manner. Failing to give the test enough times, with a calibrated machine or without the individual coughing or burping may lead to false positives or unusual readings.

What should you do if you fail a Breathalyzer test?

If you fail the first test, don’t panic. The officer needs to give at least two, and they have to be at least 15 minutes apart in most cases. The results of those tests should be very close to the same, so if the results are off by .02% or more, then the Breathalyzer test may not be accurate. The officer may need to take an additional test or seek out further testing by taking you to have a blood or urine test instead.

Breathalyzer tests can be wrong, so it’s worth defending yourself if you’re accused of drinking and driving. Our website has more on what you should know about Breathalyzer tests and facing drunk driving charges. You deserve an opportunity to defend yourself against the allegations.