Everyone makes mistakes. Having a few drinks after work before heading home for the day is not a crime but it can be difficult to tell if you’re over the legal limit. Then, if you get pulled over on the way and your breathalyzer test comes back high you might think you’re headed straight for a jail cell.
But this is not always true. Breathalyzer tests are far from perfect and tests can come back with significant errors.
How Accurate Are Breathalyzers?
Basically all breath test devices have inherent margin of error and some can be off as much as .01 percent, which means your reading may push you over the legal limit, even if you are not.
Additionally, breathalyzer devices can be complicated to operate, and different factors can skew the results one way or the other. That means they can be unreliable and, in some cases, may not be sufficient evidence to put you in jail or charge you with an OWI.
What Factors Can Cause An Error?
Different variables can skew the results of a breathalyzer device including:
- User error (i.e. improper calibration)
- Food consumed prior to the test
- Prescription medications and/or medical conditions
- Breathing pattern
- The manufacturer of the device
Any, all or a combination of these factors could give you an inaccurate reading on your breathalyzer test. In these cases, the results of the test may not be permissible in court.
A breathalyzer test on its own may not be enough to send you to jail or force you to face legal consequences from an OWI arrest. If you believe your results are inaccurate you may want to seek help and representation to help combat the charges of an OWI.