false positives during DUI test

False Positives on a DUI Test

Motorists who are pulled over due to suspected DUI are typically tested using a breathalyzer machine or a field kit. Many law enforcement personnel rely on these machines to establish whether a driver has reached or surpassed the legal blood alcohol content limit of 0.08 percent. When the BAC level is above 0.08 percent, the motorist is deemed legally drunk.

In such cases, the offender is taken to the local police station where they are locked up subject to further investigation. It is prudent to promptly contact an attorney in such situations as they can offer you guidance on what to do next and whether a case for a false positive is possible or valid.

Many experts believe that breathalyzer tests may present wrong readings based on a variety of factors. A margin of error should be factored into breathalyzer readings, even when they are used appropriately, and all other considerations are eliminated. But many law enforcement officers who use these machines in the field are not adequately trained in how to administer breathalyzer tests correctly.

In other cases, the individual taking the test may be on meds that could impact the result. Some people consume alcohol many hours before the device is used, and it detects the alcohol remaining in the mouth. When engaging an attorney for your case, it is vital to inform them of these circumstances.

Calibrating the Device Correctly

When maintaining and using a breath tester, there are specific guidelines on its calibration that must be followed. These are very particular calibrations and settings, and usually warrant the assistance of a trained technician. The equipment may provide faulty readings if it is not set correctly and maintained.

To be able to prove that the equipment may be defective or provided incorrect test readings, the device must be observed to have been in use for over ten days or 150 applications on individuals without a recalibration. Such circumstances can put the results of breathalyzer testing in doubt.

Undertaking the Test Too Soon

Alcohol remaining in the mouth may impact readings, making a test register over the BAC limit when, in reality, the reading is significantly lower. Police officers must wait for no less than fifteen minutes prior to testing a person in cases of a suspected DUI to ensure that the test does not offer a false positive due to alcohol left in the mouth.

This implies that if the law enforcement officer observes that someone consuming liquor is burping or vomiting within the fifteen-minute duration, they will have to restart the time limit to ensure an accurate reading. This allows for the potential to test the actual alcohol within deep lung breaths that should be determined to check the right BAC level of the motorist.

Health Conditions and Drug Effects

There are various health conditions and types of meds that may cause breathalyzer readings to offer a false positive when administering the test, such as temporary or continual heartburn, acid reflux, and gastrointestinal reflux disease.

These medical concerns may increase the BAC levels and lead to an incorrect breath test reading because of the acid present in the esophagus or stomach. Besides, the mouth may also have these kinds of conditions leading to false readings when short breaths are given at the time of testing.

Blood Alcohol Rising

It may take between under an hour and three hours for alcohol to be fully absorbed into the system in many cases. This means that if the person undergoes a breathalyzer test during this period, the BAC levels would be rising, and the reading is not a correct indication of what may be happening within the body of the individual.

When the person is behind the wheel, the levels may increase past a certain point and then decrease again. However, the breath test administered during the increase period may provide a false positive reading. It cannot determine whether the motorist was truly inebriated while driving, but it appears that they were.

Sample Contamination and Legal Support

Breath test samples can become contaminated due to various environmental factors, such as paint chemicals, other forms of alcohol used in cleaning supplies, the alcohol exhaled by previous individuals tested, and similar aspects.

A possible DUI could have a severely detrimental impact on an individual’s life. Therefore, it is essential to consult an attorney to establish how to navigate the arrest and investigation. Your attorney could build a robust case negating the proof and tests. They may engage an expert on behalf of the defendant to refute a false positive reading.

Legal Assistance from Aggressive DUI Attorneys

It can be scary to be charged with a DUI, and serious questions about the outcome of your case and future may arise. Before undertaking anything else, consult an experienced and qualified DUI attorney at Anderson & Carnahan to understand your options on tackling a false DUI positive reading. Call us today at (719) 473-9099 for a free DUI consultation.

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