False Breathalyzer Results

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When a police officer notices a driver operating their vehicle erratically, they often immediately suspect that the driver must be under the influence of alcohol or drugs. After pulling the driver over, the officer will likely be compelled to find reasons to request the driver submit to a breathalyzer in order to charge them with DUI. However, what many driver do not realize is that it is not uncommon for breathalyzer test results to be wrong and these results can be challenged by a skilled drunk driving accident lawyer in DC.

What Are Some Reasons a Breathalyzer Test Could Be Wrong?

When you meet with a DUI attorney from name of firm, he or she will go over all the details of your arrest with you to determine if there are any potential grounds for challenging the results of the breathalyzer test you were given. Some of the common grounds our legal team has used in past cases include:

·       Certain products: There are certain products which actually contain alcohol that can affect the result of a breathalyzer test. If you used any of these products at the time you were stopped by police, it is critical you let your attorney know:

o   Aftershave lotions

o   Breath freshener

o   Facial cleansers

o   Fermented foods or drinks

o   Inhaled medication

o   Liquid medicine

o   Mouthwash

·       Waiting period: In order to ensure that a driver has not consumed anything that could result in a false reading (see above list), an officer is supposed to observe a driver for 20 minutes prior to administering a breathalyzer test.

·       Medical conditions: There are a variety of medical conditions a person could have that would result in an incorrect breathalyzer result. For example, when someone suffers from acid reflux, they have a defective valve that allows alcohol-containing gases and liquids to rise from their stomach and enter their mouth. Another example is a driver who has diabetes. If a diabetic has high blood sugar, there may be a high acetone concentration in their breath that breathalyzers read as alcohol. Low blood sugar can cause a person who has diabetes to have slurred speech, be off balance, and be drowsy, all signs that a police officer could mistake as a person under the influence of alcohol.

In order to protect your right to challenge the results of a breathalyzer, you want to make sure you follow every instruction the officer gives you from the moment your vehicle is stopped:

1. Provide your driver’s license and vehicle registration to the officer

2. Confirm your name, address, and date of birth

3. Follow all physical instructions the officer gives you

You are not required to answer any other questions under the law. If the officer asks you if you have been drinking, inform the officer that you feel it is best that you do not answer any questions. If you admit to alcohol use, even if it is only one drink, that statement can be used against you and could make it much harder to challenge the results of your breathalyzer test.

Thanks to Frederick J. Brynn, P.C. for their insight into criminal law and breathalyzer tests.

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