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3 reasons a breathalyzer isn't always accurate

You had a drink or two before getting into the car, but you never expected your blood alcohol concentration to come back higher than .08. Despite this, the officer tells you you're over the limit. How can that be?

There's a chance that the test is incorrect. When an officer uses a breathalyzer test on you, there are a few things that can go wrong. Here are three things that could make the test come back incorrect.

1. The breathalyzer was not calibrated correctly

Every state has its own laws on how often a calibration needs to take place, but for a breathalyzer to work properly, there is no question that it must be calibrated. If a breathalyzer is not calibrated properly, it could come back with a false positive result, and that puts the driver in a difficult position.

If you take a breath test and it comes back positive, the officer should ask for a second sample. The samples should be the same or within .02 percent of each other. If there is a discrepancy, the breathalyzer may not be accurate. You can use this in your defense in court.

2. Certain factors can result in false positives

There are times when people may not be intoxicated but have a positive result on a breathalyzer test. Some mouthwashes, for example, can make the breathalyzer come up positive. It's also possible for a belch or burp to make the machine read higher than it should. The officer giving you a breathalyzer test should be aware of these factors and give you another test if something has caused the test to go wrong.

3. The officer was not trained to use the breathalyzer

Not everyone who has a breathalyzer is authorized to use it in a professional capacity. It's important for an officer to be certified to use the device. Being certified to use a breathalyzer is not enough. The officer must be certified in the exact unit. Each unit is a little different, so this helps guarantee that the officer knows how to administer the test. He or she needs to make sure that you do not smoke, vomit, eat, burp or regurgitate prior to or during the test. If that occurs, then the test is not accurate and needs to be discarded.

If you're facing a DWI, your attorney can help you gather evidence and present a strong defense against incorrect breathalyzer results. With the right support, you may be able to have the charges dropped or reduced.

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