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Excluding The Accuracy Of Breathalyzer Tests In Criminal DUI Cases


If you ask the companies that produce breathalyzer tests, they are the most accurate form of modern alcohol identification equipment that has ever been invented. And yet, they aren’t much better than a police officer smelling the breath of a supposed inebriated drunk driver. When asked, scientists will say things like: Breathalyzers are fairly accurate or pretty accurate, but they will never say that they are perfectly accurate. In this article, we’ll discuss why perfect accuracy is necessary in most cases.

DUI per se 

There are two forms of DUI prosecution. One is per se, which means that a chemical test has shown that you are above the legal limit of .08. The other way to try a DUI is by proving that the individual was too inebriated to operate their car. This requires proof of erratic driving. Chemical tests help the prosecution expend fewer resources proving the case.

Nonetheless, breathalyzers are not the most accurate way of measuring BAC. Blood tests are the most accurate way. Breath tests have a margin of error that averages out to something like .02%, which may not sound like a lot, but if you’re facing charges because your BAC is .08 – .10, then you may have a different opinion.

Margin of error defenses 

Your attorney can raise the defense that you had consumed alcohol that night, but were not legally drunk under Florida’s laws. We can raise doubt by considering that the margin of error for testing is below the necessary .08 required for DUI per se conviction. In those cases, the prosecutor has the option of either trying the case on its merits by introducing evidence that the defendant was driving their car recklessly, or they can offer a plea, or drop the charges entirely.

Failure to calibrate defenses 

Most breathalyzers use chemicals to determine how much alcohol is on your breath. If the breathalyzer is not calibrated properly, it can cause inflated readings. If your attorney can successfully argue that the test was administered improperly, then we can get the breathalyzer evidence excluded and force the prosecutor to prove their case based on the merits of your driving.

Tainted sample defenses 

Since your mouth is the sample, it can be tainted by any of a number of influencing factors that can artificially inflate your BAC. One example is keto diets. Keto diets increase acetone in your mouth and register as alcohol on breath tests. While the test is unlikely to render a reading of .08 if you hadn’t had anything to drink, it will register some reading even if you’ve drunk nothing at all, which increases the margin of error.

Talk to a Port St. Lucie Criminal Defense Attorney 

If you are facing DUI-related charges, call the Port St. Lucie criminal attorneys at Eighmie Law Firm, P.A. today to schedule an appointment and we can discuss your options for resolving the complaint.

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