A breath test can be administered by the police to see if someone’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is over the legal limit. For the majority of drivers, this legal limit is 0.08% BAC. Officers can sometimes use portable breath test devices or a Breathalyzer at the police station.
What typically happens is that a police officer has reasonable suspicion to stop a car. After talking to the driver, the officer determines that they believe the driver may be under the influence. They can then give them a test to see if they have actually violated the legal limit or not.
Drivers will often assume that the results of the breath test are infallible, but that’s not the case. These tests can and do get it wrong.
Why could the test be wrong?
There are many different reasons why the breath test could provide the wrong result. Just a few examples include the following:
- The police officer has not calibrated the device recently. Routine maintenance was not done on schedule.
- The police officer was never trained in how to use the test or made other mistakes when administering it.
- The device itself was defective or came from a non-approved brand.
- Something else influenced the results of the test, such as having used mouthwash immediately before taking it.
If you believe that the results of the test were not accurate, that could mean that you actually weren’t over the legal limit at the time. Since this can clearly have such a drastic impact on your case, be sure you know what legal steps to take.