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Fail a Breathalyzer test?

On Behalf of | Dec 28, 2020 | Criminal Defense

While out driving your car, Alaska police pulled you over and asked you to submit to breath testing. You complied because you felt you had no other option. You failed the Breathalyzer test, which resulted in your arrest. Now you’re facing charges for driving under the influence of alcohol. What can you do?

The good news for you is, a failed breath test is not the end of the world. These tests are not always accurate, as a number of things can affect the final results. If it is possible to prove the results are inaccurate, or that an error in administration occurred, a judge may not allow one to use the results against you in court.

What exactly is a Breathalyzer?

A Breathalyzer is a small device law enforcement officers use to test people for impairment. This device works by taking in a breath sample and then passing it through chambers that utilize color-changing, infrared or fuel-cell technology to estimate the percentage of alcohol that is in the sample. Devices that use fuel-cell technology tend to be the most accurate.

Things that affect test accuracy

Several things may affect the accuracy of a breath test. Some of them you may have heard of before, and others may be new to you. They include:

  • Human error
  • Device failure
  • Various medications
  • Body temperature
  • Electrical interference
  • Mouth wash/breath fresheners
  • Certain medical conditions
  • Hyperventilating
  • Hypoventilating

One issue not often talked about that can have a significant impact on test results is timing. The final readout is going to be higher if tested directly or one to two hours after alcohol consumption.

What can you do if you fail a breath test?

If you fail a Breathalyzer test, do not panic, but don’t run from the issue either. This one test alone is not typically enough to convict you of driving under the influence of alcohol, but addressing the matter as soon as possible is still necessary to help your case.

Thankfully, when facing alcohol-related criminal charges, you don’t have to fight them alone. Legal counsel can question the evidence offered against you, including the accuracy of your test results. Through a careful and thorough investigation, it may be possible to find issues with the test results, which may cause the judge to throw them out and, in turn, lead to a case dismissal or, at least, a reduction in charges and penalties.