Are breath test devices always accurate?

On Behalf of | Sep 22, 2021 | Criminal Defense

When a North Carolina law enforcement official stops your car and suspects you may be under the influence of alcohol, you may have to take a breath test so that the officer may determine your level of impairment. A conviction for driving while impaired may lead to considerable expenses and other serious penalties. Therefore, it is imperative that the breath test device you use produces accurate results.

According to BACtrack, blood tests are more accurate than breath tests. However, blood tests are more invasive and harder to conduct, which is why most law enforcement agencies rely primarily on breath tests. What are some of the factors that may cause an inaccurate breath test reading?

Administrator errors

To produce an accurate reading, the person conducting your breath test must use the device in the appropriate manner. Law enforcement agencies also have to calibrate their breath test devices on a regular basis. They also must ensure the devices have functioning batteries so that they may produce accurate readings.

Environmental factors

Certain fumes or chemicals, including those associated with certain plastics and adhesives, have the potential to throw off breath test device accuracy. Some individuals facing DWI charges also beat the charges because electronic waves from police scanners interfered with their breath tests.

Foreign substances

Many breath fresheners and certain types of mouthwash contain alcohol. If you used any of these products and then had a positive breath test without consuming alcohol, your use of the products may be to blame.

The results of your breath test may mean the difference between going to jail or going about life as you know it.