For decades, the breathalyzer test has been one of the primary tools law enforcement uses to assess if a driver is under the influence of alcohol. Its readings can dramatically affect the outcome of a DUI case. However, a question that often arises is: Are breathalyzer tests truly accurate? This question is not just one of curiosity, but it holds significant weight in legal defense, especially when your freedom is on the line.
Attorney Van-Lear Eckert, with a rich legacy of practicing law in southern Illinois for nearly two decades, understands the intricacies of DUI cases and the role breathalyzer tests play in them. Here, we’ll shed light on the accuracy of these devices and the implications for people facing DUI charges.
At its core, a breathalyzer measures the concentration of alcohol in one’s breath and then extrapolates that to estimate the blood alcohol concentration (BAC). It operates on the premise that there’s a direct correlation between the alcohol in one’s breath and their bloodstream. However, this estimation can be influenced by various factors, casting doubts on its accuracy.
While they are widely used, the accuracy of breathalyzer tests can be influenced by several factors:
- Device Calibration: Like any sensitive instrument, breathalyzers require regular calibration to ensure they provide accurate readings. If not calibrated correctly or regularly, the device might produce skewed results.
- Physiological Differences: Every person metabolizes alcohol differently. Factors like body weight, gender, body temperature, and even the rate of breathing can affect the breathalyzer’s reading.
- Residual Mouth Alcohol: Breathalyzers are designed to measure deep lung air. However, if there’s residual alcohol in the mouth—perhaps from a recent drink, certain medicines, or mouthwashes—it could lead to a falsely elevated reading.
- External Interferences: Some studies suggest that exposure to certain volatile compounds, like those in paints or adhesives, can interfere with breathalyzer readings, producing false positives.
- Breathalyzer Quality and Design: Not all breathalyzers are created equal. Lower-quality devices or those with outdated designs might not provide as accurate readings as newer, high-quality models.
Given these potential inaccuracies, breathalyzer results can—and often do—become points of contention in DUI cases. Our skilled attorneys can challenge the validity of the test results, especially if there’s evidence of device malfunction, improper administration of the test, or other influencing factors.
Remember that while breathalyzer tests are influential pieces of evidence, they are not perfect. With the right legal approach, their results can be questioned, potentially leading to reduced charges or even case dismissals.
If you or a loved one is facing DUI charges in southern Illinois and have concerns about the accuracy of a breathalyzer test, don’t leave your defense to chance. With decades of combined experience, the Law Office of Van-Lear P. Eckert, PC, is equipped to challenge the validity of such evidence and advocate fiercely on your behalf.
Reach out to us online today or call (618) 233-8800 for a consultation and dedicated representation.