Anyone ever pulled over for allegedly driving under the influence of alcohol in Florida knows just how anxiety-inducing it is to take part in sobriety testing. They do it, though, because they believe that, when asked to, they must comply. The truth is, it is okay to say no to a roadside breath testing; just know that there are consequences for doing so. Then again, there may be consequences for supplying a breath sample as well.
Consequences aside, the one thing you probably want to know is: are Breathalyzer tests accurate? The Department of Transportation says yes, as do test manufacturers, but the simple truth is, they are not without fault.
Machine error is possible
Breath tests come in several forms. They can all produce accurate results, but they can also fail. Mechanical error is possible if:
- They do not receive proper maintenance
- They do not receive calibration as needed
- They do not receive regular battery replacement
- The software is out of date
Different breath tests work in different ways. Different things can affect them and cause them to break or fail.
Substances that can affect the breath test
There are several other things that can affect breath test results. For starters, traces of alcohol in the mouth from recently drinking or taking other substances containing alcohol can skew results. Other alcohol-containing substances that may affect your blood-alcohol level include:
- Cold medicine
- Smoking products
- Certain prescription drugs
If you used one of these substances and failed your breath test, you need to share that information with legal counsel as it may help your case.
Other things to consider
Other things that might affect your breath test results are your weight, gender, how many drinks you had -- if any -- and how much you had to eat. A smaller woman who has two drinks without having food in her stomach will have a higher BAC readout than a male who drinks the same amount on an empty stomach.
If a failed breath test resulted in you being charged with DUI, you have every right to fight the charge. A conviction is not a guarantee in your case. If you suspect that your test results are inaccurate, it is certainly worth looking into. Doing so may help you seek a case dismissal or, at least, a reduction in charges and penalties.