We have all been there with that unsettling feeling that you get when you see the flashing lights in your rearview mirror and hear a patrol car’s siren coming upon you. However, what happens next can be life changing. If that officer asks you to take a breathalyzer test, the results can have a monumental effect on your life, liberty and freedom. Failing a breathalyzer test means that you are over the legal limit for your blood alcohol content (BAC) and criminal prosecution will ensue. The following talks about the accuracy of breathalyzer tests and your defense against these seemingly infallible results.
What is a false positive breathalyzer test?
While most prosecutors and law enforcement officials would have you believe that the results of a breathalyzer test are infallible, that is a bit of a stretch on the truth. Generally, breathalyzer tests are only accurate approximately 40% of the time. Factor into that statistic that the testing equipment itself has an inherent margin of error between .005 and .02% in its BAC readings. Taken into consideration, these various characteristics can lead to a false positive reading by a breathalyzer test. That false positive reading means that you will be charged with driving under the influence (DUI), a very serious crime which can have wide ranging implications on your daily life.
Appropriate and qualified administration of a breathalyzer test
The appropriateness and administration of a breathalyzer test is a very important factor in determining what your true BAC actually is. In terms of appropriateness, timing makes all the difference. One instance of timing making a difference is with your blood alcohol being “on the rise.” This rising occurs because it can take anywhere between fifty (50) minutes to three (3) hours for your system to fully absorb any alcohol that you may have imbibed. Thus, your blood alcohol level could have been within the legal limit while driving, but between the time you were stopped and the test administered, your BAC could have risen just enough to put you over the legal limit.