In the state of Florida, police officers use breathalyzer tests to determine if a motorist is driving while under the influence of alcohol. If the test is taken and the results show a BAL – breath alcohol level – of 0.08 or more, the person is considered to be legally intoxicated according to the DUI laws in Florida. At this point, the police have the evidence necessary to arrest the individual for DUI.
Law enforcement officers and the courts still rely on breathalyzer tests for charging and sentencing a DUI suspect. However, there are some factors – including issues with the machine used and a person’s metabolism – that may interfere with the test’s accuracy.
The Impact of Breathalyzer Inaccuracies
Having proof of alcohol concentration in the person’s blood is essential in building a case for drunk driving in Florida. This is why many attorneys challenge the accuracy and results of a breathalyzer test. In some cases, the courts can be convinced to dismiss a case if the defense is able to prove that the test was not administered properly or it was compromised.
A breathalyzer test is designed to measure the concentration of alcohol in a person’s mouth. The tests will measure this level without testing the blood. The information gathered is then used to determine the blood alcohol level and whether or not a person is officially intoxicated. Some of the most common reasons a breathalyzer test may not be accurate are found here.
Issues with the Machine
One way to determine if a machine was inaccurate is to inspect the machine used. If it has not been properly calibrated, it may provide inaccurate results. In fact, according to a 2010 Washington Post story, over 400 people were charged with being intoxicated based on results from an inaccurate breath test machine.
Temperature of the Mouth
Modern breathalyzer machines are always calibrated to a certain temperature. If the suspect’s body or mouth are higher than this calibrated number, then the reading received may not be accurate.
A person’s individual metabolism will impact the rate at which their body will absorb alcohol they consume. This means that a breathalyzer test may indicate a person has more alcohol in the blood stream than what is actually there.
If a person vomits before taking a breathalyzer test, it can impact the accuracy of the test. Additionally, anyone who suffers from gastroesophageal reflux disease or acid reflux may have a higher BAL level. This is because these medical conditions will result in the contents of the stomach moving into the mouth, which makes the reading inaccurate.
A persons breathing patterns may impact a breathalyzer reading in some situations. A person who holds their breath may end up with an inflated reading.
If you have been arrested or charged with DUI and believe the breathalyzer reading was inaccurate, then hiring an attorney is the best course of action. To learn more about your legal options, contact the Law Office of Jeffrey Thompson by calling 321-253-3771.