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Are breathalyzer tests accurate?

On Behalf of | Aug 5, 2019 | DUI Defense | 0 comments

In Georgia, if an officer pulls you over for a suspected DUI, you may be subject to a breathalyzer test. Breathalyzers are instruments that you blow air into to register your BAC or blood alcohol concentration. In court, the prosecution presents breathalyzer tests as strong evidence. When calibrated correctly, they can provide reliable results. While prosecutors can present breathalyzers in court, it does not mean that they are not without fault. In fact, it is not uncommon for a defendant to challenge a breathalyzer. In some cases, they can be inaccurate.

FindLaw suggests that a breathalyzer undergo regular maintenance and that the person administering the test have training. If the officers do not perform appropriate calibration, then the results may not stand up in court. The defendant has to prove that there was a problem with the test. Officers keep records of calibration procedures and erroneous readings.

When administering the test, an officer must:

  • Capture two readings within .02 of each other
  • Guarantee that the driver did not eat, regurgitate or smoke before the test
  • Perform the test as trained
  • Use a device on a list of accepted devices

Any deviation from the appropriate protocol can result in inadmissible evidence. If a testing device does not work correctly for any reason, then it cannot prove intoxication under the law. Breathalyzer testing is accurate in many cases. Accuracy, however, depends on regular calibration and maintenance of the device. Technology is only as reliable as those who handle it.

All of the above information is for educational purposes only and not for legal advice.