5 signs that a breath test isn't accurate

You don't think you're over the legal limit, and you take the breath test gladly after getting pulled over. To your surprise, it comes back at 0.09. The officer says you're under arrest for drinking and driving, though you don't even feel buzzed.

Now, all you can think about is your future. Are you going to lose your job? Can you even work with a suspended license? How will you afford the fines? How are you going to break the news to your loved ones?

But, at the same time, you're still very confused about the result. You think something must have gone wrong. Below are a few signs you can look for that might tip you off:

1. The officer seems confused about how to use the device.

This could mean that the officer does not have the proper certification, or that he or she simply forgot the regulations. Remember, officers must be trained and certified to ensure that the test results are accurate. When giving you the test, they have to follow their training. If the officer seems confused or you get the feeling that he or she just has no idea how to give out the test, these regulations may have been broken.

2. The readings aren't close.

Perhaps the first reading was just 0.02. The second was 0.09. You asked the officer if you could try again, and it came back at 0.15.

Yes, two of those are over the legal limit of 0.08, but the readings are supposed to be within 0.02. They should be relatively close. If they're not, you may wonder if the test is working properly at all. Is it just giving random results, even if your BAC is actually at 0.00? A defective test could lead to an arrest.

3. It looks like no one has used the test in a long time.

The officer may even make a comment about not using the device for some time. Remember, the police must have a set schedule that they use to maintain the breath tests and check them to make sure they're still working. If they haven't checked the device in years, there's no way to know for sure if those results are accurate.

4. You accidentally do something to influence the test.

For example, maybe you burped right before the officer gave you the test. Technically, that goes against the regulations, and the officer needed to wait. The same is true if you ate, smoked, or regurgitated at all prior to the test.

With your job and your family, you have quite a lot at stake here. If you have suspicions or see these signs, do not just assume that your BAC must be what the test claimed it was. Remember your legal defense options and your rights, ensuring that police actually follow protocols and you weren't arrested simply due to mistakes or negligence on their end.

Source: Nov. 30, -0001

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