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Can you challenge the results from a breath test device?

When the police pull out a breath test and it says that you're intoxicated, you may think there's nothing -- or very little -- that you can do. People often assume that a breath test is an exact science in 100 percent of cases.

This is not actually true. There are many reasons you can challenge the breath test and say that it's reading doesn't prove you were driving while under the influence. Some tactics include:

-- Showing that the device itself wasn't on the official list of approved devices.

-- Showing that the officer who gave you the test either ignored his or her training or did not get the proper certification to use the device.

-- Showing that the police did not calibrate the device, check to make sure that it was accurate, or do all of the maintenance that was required.

-- Showing that you actually altered the test in some way, though perhaps not of your own volition. For instance, police are instructed to make sure that people who are being tested don't burp, eat, vomit or smoke for a set amount of time before they give them the test. If you did, you could have made it appear you were intoxicated when you were not.

-- Arguing that the test wasn't accurate enough. One reading doesn't prove anything. The device has to get at least two readings, and they need to be very similar -- not more than 0.02 apart -- to hold up.

If you think a breath test provided inaccurate results and you're now facing unfair charges, be sure you know your rights -- including the right to challenge those results.

Source: FindLaw, "Breathalyzer Calibration," accessed April 07, 2017

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