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Are breath test devices always accurate?

Nov 3, 2021 | Firm News

When a California law enforcement official stops you in your car and administers a breath test to see if you are under the influence, quite a bit hangs in the balance. The results of that breath test play a major role in whether you wind up facing a charge of driving under the influence, which carries significant penalties if it leads to a conviction.

According to BACtrack, breath test devices are not immune to error. The devices, themselves, have the potential to malfunction or produce inaccurate results when certain circumstances exist. The person administering the breath test may also contribute to its accuracy. Because so much depends on the results of your breath test, it is important that you understand what might impact breath test device accuracy. Some of these factors are below.

Administrator errors

Breath test devices require considerable precision. Errors on the administrator’s part have the capacity to offset breath test results. Breath test devices also must undergo regular calibration to ensure accuracy. If they do not undergo calibration at specified intervals, they may not produce accurate readings.

Certain substances in your mouth

If you used mouthwash or other over-the-counter products that contain alcohol before your breath test, know that your use of such products may lead to a false-positive breath test result. Some facing DUI charges have also argued that blood or vomit in their mouths at the time of their breath tests may have offset breath test device results.

While these are a few of the variables that may impact breath test device accuracy, this is not a full list of all factors that may do so.