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Challenging a breath test

A DUI traffic stop can be a frightening experience. In a worst-case scenario, the driver might end up with a result that puts them squarely in the "over the limit" category. They could be facing stiff penalties such as fines, jail time, loss of license and an increase in insurance premiums. Are breath test results accurate, though?

Not always.

While many Colorado drivers automatically assume the worst, it might be possible that the result has been tainted by numerous factors.

What is an alcohol breath test?

When alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream, it is carried through the body to the brain and lungs. Colorado law enforcement agencies currently use the Intoxilyzer 9000 to measure breath alcohol content upon exhalation. While the I9000 has filters designed to identify and dismiss interfering substances, many factors can still impact the results.

What can influence a breath test result?

Many factors including your height, weight and gender can directly influence the accuracy of breath test results. However, other situational factors can be impactful, such as:

  • What you had to drink
  • In what time period was it imbibed
  • What you had to eat that day

As well as environmental factors, including:

  • Did you recently use mouthwash?
  • Are there paint fumes present?
  • Do you have dirt on your skin or clothes?

Additionally, actions by law enforcement can influence the breath test results, such as:

  • Was the machine properly cleaned after its last use?
  • Was the machine properly stored?
  • Was the officer properly trained on the machine's operation?
  • Were the proper instructions given at the time of the test?

Every situation is different and it is wise to discuss your case with an experienced defense attorney. It might not feel like it's worth it to fight these scientific results, but a lawyer can carefully evaluate your case and provide the guidance you need.

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