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Are Breathalyzer test results reliable and accurate?

On Behalf of | May 17, 2022 | DUI |

Georgia police officers have specialized training to help them identify possibly drunk drivers on the road. They look for issues like erratic acceleration and deceleration, swerving and nervous driving. Once a police officer has reason to suspect a driver of chemical impairment, they can pull that driver over and assess the situation more carefully.

If someone’s conduct or their answers to questions a police officer asks makes the cop believe they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the next step will be a field sobriety test. After that, there may be chemical testing requested.

Breathalyzer tests have been used for decades to measure how much alcohol someone has in their bloodstream. Are the results of a chemical breath test accurate and reliable as evidence in criminal court?

The science behind breath testing has known flaws

The state puts a lot of emphasis on chemical test results when building an impaired driving case. Chemical breath testing is a way to evaluate someone’s claim that they only had a single drink or nothing to drink at all. The results can help demonstrate that someone was over the legal limit and thus technically guilty of a per se impaired driving offense, even if they didn’t display significantly impaired skills at the wheel.

The results returned by these tests can be quite wrong sometimes. False positives can occur because of health issues, dietary practices and even maintenance mistakes by the police department. Innocent people can fail breath tests for a range of reasons and then find themselves facing drunk driving charges even though they were in compliance with Georgia law and had a blood-alcohol concentration of well below the legal limit.

You can fight a breath test in court

If the only real evidence affirming your chemical impairment is a breath test, there are several different ways that you can challenge that test and defeat those charges in court. Each arrest is unique, so you will need to review the evidence against you and your circumstances prior to the traffic stop to determine what defense strategy could help you fight back after you fail a chemical test.

Learning more about Georgia’s drunk driving laws and the tools used by the police or prosecutors will help you when you find yourself unexpectedly facing charges.