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Reasons Why an Alcohol Breath Test May Be Inaccurate

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In many DUI cases, a prosecutor will attempt to use the results of an alcohol breath test as concrete evidence that your blood alcohol content (BAC) was over the legal limit of 0.08 percent. Many people facing DUI charges may believe that alcohol breath test results will be insurmountable evidence and thus they believe pleading guilty is their only option. This belief is mistaken, however, as an experienced DUI defense attorney can challenge breath test results in numerous ways.
Inaccurate Alcohol Breath Test Results

The following are some of the factors that may cause inaccurate alcohol breath test results in your DUI case:

  • Law enforcement officers did not comply fully with Title 17 of the California Code of Regulations during the breath testing. The state regulations require that the officer observe you for at least 15 minutes before the breath testing and that you did not drink, eat, regurgitate, or smoke during this time. The officer must also make sure that the breath tested is “alveolar air” from deep in the lungs and that the breath was not shallow.

  • The breath test device was not properly calibrated or the device malfunctions. Title 17 also requires that these devices must be regularly inspected and maintained to ensure that they yield accurate readings. The law requires that each device be calibrated after 150 uses or ten days, whichever happens first. If a device is not correctly calibrated, the BAC results can be significantly affected.

  • The law enforcement officer mishandled the device or was not properly trained. An officer must be qualified and trained on how to properly administer a breath test.

  • High amount of residual alcohol in your mouth, due to belching, heartburn, acid reflux, or GERD. This can cause alcohol from your stomach to be pushed up into your mouth and the breath device may read this mouth alcohol instead of purely testing the alcohol in your breath.

  • You have high isopropyl alcohol levels in your system due to hypoglycemia, diabetes, or a high-protein, low-carb diet. Breath test devices may not be able to distinguish isopropyl alcohol from ethyl alcohol, which is the kind of alcohol people drink.

  • Delay in the testing caused your BAC to be higher at the time of the test than when you were behind the wheel due to rising blood alcohol. If you had a drink right before you drove, the alcohol may not have been absorbed into your system while you were behind the wheel.

A California DUI defense lawyer knows that breath test results as reported by law enforcement officers are not conclusive evidence that anyone is guilty of a DUI under California law. An attorney will be able to identify many possible defenses that you may not be aware even existed. For this reason, you should never simply give up and plead guilty until a thorough investigation into the circumstances of your case has been conducted.

At Beck Law P.C., we know how to build an aggressive defense in DUI cases that involve breath or other chemical test results. If you have been charged with DUI, contact our office today for help.

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