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What causes breathalyzers to malfunction?

by | Aug 20, 2020 | Drunk Driving Charges |

Many drivers have likely been in the following situation.

You meet some friends, co-workers or family members for happy hour, dinner or a night out. Throughout the get-together, you have a few drinks, but don’t overdo it as you know your limit better than anyone else. It’s been a few hours since you’ve arrived and you even paired your alcoholic drinks with a couple of glasses of water, and maybe even some food. Because of these reasons, you feel like you are more than fit to drive home. While driving home during any state of intoxication is unadvisable, you get back safely without any repercussions. Well, some drivers aren’t so lucky.

Some drivers do get pulled over. Sometimes it isn’t even for an action that would suspect drunk or buzzed driving. The driver could get pulled over for a broken tail or brake light. However the events unfold, the officer on the scene asks you to take a breathalyzer test to measure your alcohol intake. Since Florida practices the ‘implied consent’ law, any person who accepts the responsibility of driving in Florida automatically provides consent to take a urine or breath alcohol test when requested lawfully.

We’re told that breathalyzer results are accurate, but that isn’t always the case as numerous causes can skew their accuracy, including:

  • Calibration issues: This is due to improper periodic calibrations, unaddressed flaws to original machinery due to lax government oversight, or a lack of incentives for the police departments to maintain the machines properly.
  • Human error: Failing to properly operate the breathalyzer, having the suspect take two tests to prove an accurate reading or the officer failing to observe the DUI suspect for the legally-mandated 20 minutes before administering a breath test could skew the results.
    • Floridians should remember the 20-minute rule, which could work to your advantage or disadvantage depending on the last time you have a drink.
  • Ketosis: The DUI suspect being in a state of ketosis can cause an inaccurately high BAC reading.
  • Other factors: Breath mints, alcohol-based mouthwash, dental medication, smoke, paint fumes and chemical emissions from plastics or adhesives

A DUI conviction could drastically alter your life. It’s important to know that you have options for defense to fight the charge. Florida criminal defense attorneys are well-versed in defense strategies to help you combat a DUI charge.