Can I challenge the breathalyzer test in Florida?

A breathalyzer is simply a mechanical device with built-in sensors that estimates the amount of blood alcohol content (BAC) from a breath sample. And like all machines, they can falter. If you are facing DUI charges, you may be able to challenge the breathalyzer test results and fight to get the charges dropped.

For help building your defense and to discuss the results of your breath test, call Goldman Wetzel at 727-828-3900 for a one-on-one consult with a DUI attorney.

How reliable are breathalyzer tests?

Some studies have found that there is a big difference between blood and breath alcohol measurements while the body is still absorbing alcohol (absorptive state). One study found “the actual [venous blood alcohol concentration] can be overestimated by more than 100% for a significant amount of time after drinking stops.”

The study author also notes that there is a high likelihood that police will stop a person while he or she is still in the absorptive state. Thus, the author concluded that breath alcohol measurements are not a reliable measure during the absorptive state.

Further, incorrect calibration or poor maintenance is an oft-cited defense in DUI cases challenging the breathalyzer results. Other factors, such as the following, have been cited as potentially affecting a reading:

  • What you ate or drank (e.g., mouthwash, cough syrup, medications, etc.)
  • Medical conditions: Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, may cause stomach contents, like alcohol, to come back up through the esophagus, which may affect the results of the test.

How can I challenge my breathalyzer test results?

The particular defense we will explore for your case depends upon the details. If we believe the breath test you took resulted in an inaccurate measurement, we may utilize one of various legal challenges:

  • The breathalyzer was improperly calibrated.
  • The device picked up other substances in the breath that were similar in molecular structure to alcohol. (For instance, dieters and diabetics can have acetone levels in the breath that a breathalyzer may misinterpret as alcohol.)
  • The client had a large amount of mouth alcohol. People with dentures, acid reflux disease, who used mouth wash, and even those who have recently kissed an intoxicated person may have high levels of mouth alcohol, which may create a false positive reading.
  • The police offer did not administer the test correctly or failed to follow proper procedure.

DUI convictions can bring jail time, impose large fines, affect your job, and cause tons of residual ramifications like the increased insurance premiums. Let our team of defense attorneys help you challenge your DUI charges and protect your best interests. Contact Goldman Wetzel today at 727-828-3900.