How Do You Prove a Breath Test Is False?

How Do You Prove a Breath Test Is False?Breath tests are usually administered by law enforcement officers when they suspect that a person is driving under the influence of alcohol. Although many officers frequently use these devices to accuse drivers of a DUI, these tests are known to give false readings.

If you blew into a breathalyzer and the results were positive, know that with the right criminal defense attorney by your side, you can work to prove that a breath test was false.

How do breathalyzers work?

A breath test, often referred to as a Breathalyzer, consists of two different components which have liquid that is normally a red or orange color in them. When you take the breath test, you are required to exhale into the mouthpiece, which is connected to the two liquid-filled components. As you exhale, the device immediately starts looking for any particles of alcohol in your breath. If any alcoholic particles are found, the liquid inside will react to the alcohol and turn to a green color.

Once the device has detected alcohol on your breath and the liquid has changed to green, a sensor, which is called a photocell, will look at the extent of change in color that the liquid experienced. After this information is determined, an electrical current will provide a number for your blood alcohol content (BAC) level, which is what the officer sees on the device.

What are breath tests supposed to do?

Breath tests are supposed to tell how much blood alcohol content (BAC) you have in your body. In Tennessee, you cannot have a BAC of 0.08 percent or more. Therefore, a police officer who pulls you over and requests that you breathe into a breath test is looking to determine whether you have been drinking and, if so, how much alcohol is present in your body/blood. If the test tells the officer that you have 0.08 or higher BAC, you may be arrested for DUI.

Can a breath test be inaccurate?

Even though breath tests are allowed to be used in Tennessee, these machines can absolutely be inaccurate. An investigator for the New York Times found that breath tests are “often unreliable” because they frequently provide inaccurate and false results. In the past few years, judges in several states have dismissed thousands of DUI cases due to breath test errors. The New York Times article also points out that “the machines are sensitive scientific instruments, and in many cases they haven’t been properly calibrated, yielding results that were at times 40 percent too high.”

Those with technical backgrounds even stated to the NYT that they have found serious issues with the programming of the software in breath tests.

How can cops manipulate breath test results?

One of the most common ways that law enforcement officers manipulate breath test results is by requesting or encouraging you to blow into the device more than you need to. For example, if you are asked to continue blowing into the device or to take deep breaths even though the device has enough breath to give a reading, the officer is likely hoping that your added breaths will add more alcohol to the device, which could cause your BAC reading to increase. If this is the case for you, there is a strong possibility that your BAC will read high, which may be false or inaccurate.

What can set off a Breathalyzer other than alcohol?

Many different foods, household items, medications, and even health conditions can set off a breath test. We know that certain mouthwashes can contain alcohol, and certain medical conditions like GERD or diabetic ketoacidosis can mimic signs of drunk driving. This is why law enforcement is supposed to follow very specific steps when administering chemical tests.

How do you prove that a breath test is false?

Most Tennessean drivers know that they cannot refuse to take Breathalyzer test. This is because of Tennessee’s “implied consent law,” which states that you are giving consent to submit a breath test any time you drive in the state. As a result, you may have recently taken a breath test and need help proving that it is false. There are several different ways that your Franklin criminal defense lawyer may help you do this, such as:

  • Proving that you take certain medications that set off the breath test
  • Proving that you have a specific medical condition that is known to alter the results of a breath test
  • Showing that you recently had dental work that caused the false breath results
  • Showing that you were running a fever or ate something that could have changed the results of the breath test
  • Bringing up records of the Breathalyzer’s maintenance
  • Bringing up how the officer who conducted the breath test was inexperienced or manipulated the test

Are you facing an unfair DUI charge that resulted from an inaccurate breath test? If so, the Franklin criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Adrian H. Altshuler & Associates are prepared to stand up and explain your case to the courts. Our lead attorney, Adrian H. Altshuler, has over 30 years of experience challenging the accuracy of Breathalyzer tests. Call our office or submit our contact form to schedule your first meeting at one of our offices in Columbia, Brentwood, or Franklin today.