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Breathalyzer tests can give false readings

On Behalf of | Oct 7, 2020 | Drunk Driving

If you are stopped and asked to take a Breathalyzer test by the Carbondale police, you might feel offended. Especially if you have not been drinking or only had one beer. You might consider refusing to take the test. However, this would be a bad idea. Under Pennsylvania law, if you drive, you are assumed to have given your consent to alcohol testing. If you refuse, the courts will penalize you.

If you take the test, it will usually give you the all-clear if you are not over the limit. However, like any test, a Breathalyzer is not infallible. These are some of the reasons Breathalyzer tests can produce incorrect readings:

  • The machine has not been properly calibrated: Most machines require regular maintenance to retain their accuracy, which can decline the more the machine is handled and used. Failure to properly calibrate a Breathalyzer can lead to people testing over the limit without due cause.
  • Alcohol from other sources affects the results: Maybe you are on your way to a first date and have gone too heavy on the mouthwash. Perhaps you have been disinfecting your face mask with too much alcohol to prevent infection. There are many reasons why alcohol can creep into your breath or onto your lips and affect the result. Even certain medical conditions can create a false reading.
  • There is an operator error: Even the police can make mistakes. “Operator error” can happen, especially if an officer is unfamiliar with the specific device they are using for tests.

If you are charged with driving under the influence (DUI) in Carbondale after a Breathalyzer test, seek legal help to understand your options. You may be able to contest the charges.