How a Reported Breath Test Result is Not Always Accurate

By Jonathan Blecher on February 19, 2015

While the science surrounding alcohol breath testing in the U.S. is generally accepted by courts, the research surrounding breathalyzer tests doesn’t tell a very convincing tale. According to one study, one out of every four individuals will have a tested blood alcohol concentration (BAC) higher than their actual BAC. Another study showed that breath test results vary by at least 15 percent from actual BAC. If police officers are relying so heartily on these often erroneous machines, how does this affect arrested, and even convicted, individuals?

What factors affect BAC test results?

Most people are unaware that a breath testing instrument delivers results for the amount of alcohol in a certain portion of exhaled air, not the amount of alcohol in the bloodstream. The amount of alcohol in the exhaled air is then multiplied by 2,100. This number represents the fact that an average person typically has 1/2100th the amount of alcohol of an equal volume of blood. As you might guess, the “average” person is often far different from you or I, meaning test results are usually flawed.

Furthermore, police officers frequently fail to account for outside factors that could affect someone’s BAC. These factors can include any of the following:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Fat/muscle content
  • Rate of consumption
  • Carbonation
  • Metabolism
  • Body type
  • Food consumption
  • Alcohol intolerance

Drivers who blow over Florida’s legal limit of 0.08 percent automatically assume that a conviction is in their future, followed by incarceration, fines, and even an interlock ignition device. It cannot be emphasized enough that this is not always the case. A high breathalyzer result does not necessarily guarantee your conviction and the right lawyer can challenge your results in court.

Challenging your breathalyzer results is crucial to the successful outcome of your case. Your attorney may be able to have your results excluded from your trial or may challenge the officer’s compliance with Florida law. The more comprehensive your defense strategies, the better your chances of overturning your results.

As a lawyer for drunk driving in Miami, I am often faced with clients who blew over the legal limit. I have a great deal of experience challenging these results and fighting for the best possible outcome for my clients. Your future matters – let my firm protect your rights. Call today for your free consultation.

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