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Can the results of a Breathalyzer test be challenged?

If pulled over by a police officer and suspected of drinking and driving, a driver may be asked to exit his or her motor vehicle and submit to a series of field sobriety tests. Depending on how an individual performs, an office may also ask that he or she submit to a Breathalyzer test.

Breathalyzers are widely used to determine whether or not a driver has alcohol in his or her system and, if so, the approximate amount. If an individual has ingested alcohol, there is no way to beat a Breathalyzer. There are, however, a number of things that can affect the accuracy of a Breathalyzer test and, in cases where an individual is facing drunk driving criminal charges, these issues should be thoroughly examined and investigated.

While often regarded by law enforcement officials as a fool-proof method for determining whether or not a driver is above the legal limit, a Breathalyzer is an actual device that requires proper storage, regular maintenance and know-how with regard to how the device is used. There are, therefore, times when the results of a Breathalyzer can and should be challenged.

For example, to ensure for accurate Breathalyzer test results, a device must be correctly maintained, calibrated and administered by a certified user at regular intervals. Additionally, test results may be compromised if an individual eats, smokes, burps or vomits prior to blowing in the device.

If an individual is facing a possible DUI criminal conviction based upon the results of a Breathalyzer, a defense attorney may choose to challenge the results. Maintenance and storage records for a Breathalyzer device can be subpoenaed to refute the test's accuracy and possible admittance of evidence in court.


Source:, "Breathalyzer Calibration," Aug. 11, 2015

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