Many assume they are guilty as soon as they fail a breathalyzer test on the roadside. While the prosecution can use the results against the defendant in court, these devices are not 100% accurate. Several factors can cause a false reading.
- Poor calibration: These devices are delicate and need to be properly maintained and operated by the officer. They regularly need to be calibrated and checked for accuracy. Moreover, they must provide two readings within .02 of one another to be accurate.
- Radiofrequency transmissions: Believe it or not, electronic interference can lead to false readings. Such law enforcement equipment as police transmitters, radar units and even car radios can emit electromagnetic interference.
- Health conditions and medication: Gastroesophageal reflux disease ushes up acid from the stomach to the esophagus, which holds high doses of alcohol fumes. A driver may find that over-the-counter medications, oral pain relievers, mouthwashes or breath sprays also affect the test’s accuracy.
- Chemical exposure: As with medication, breathalyzers cannot distinguish between alcohol and other chemicals that someone may breathe in. Examples include varnish, oil-based paint, gasoline, celluloid, cleaning fluid, cement, lacquer.
Those facing DUI charges based on faulty breathalyzer results will find it vital to work with an attorney who handles DUI cases here in Colorado. They know breathalyzer protocols and weaknesses and officers (if not better) and can quickly identify red flags that will lead to false readings. This can better ensure that the driver is not wrongly convicted.