Inaccurate Breath Testing Machines Utah
While the results of a breath test are often used as evidence of impairment in a driving under the influence (DUI) case, the truth is that the machines used to test breath samples are not without their problems. Unfortunately, an inaccurate breath testing machine could produce inflated blood alcohol content (BAC) readings, resulting in a drunk-driving conviction. If you are currently facing a Utah DUI charge, it may be worth working with a defense attorney who can review the results of your breathalyzer in order to uncover any errors that may have had an impact on your BAC result.
Inaccurate Breath Machines
Breathalyzer tests may be impacted by a number of factors, such as your breath-to-blood partition ratio, temperature, and even the way you breathe before taking the test. This is very worrisome, as your results from the breathalyzer can mean the difference between an acquittal and a DUI conviction.
Breath testing machines often assume that individuals have a 2100:1 breath-to-blood partition ratio; however, those with a different ratio could experience inaccurate test results. For example, if a person with a partition ratio of 1500:1 and an actual BAC of .07% takes the breathalyzer, his or her test result will show a BAC of .10%--well over the legal limit. Your temperature also plays a role in the partition ratio, so your reading may be inflated if you have a fever and take a breath test.
Your breathing before taking the breathalyzer can also influence your test results. For example, a study showed that men who held their breath before taking the breathalyzer had an increased concentration of alcohol in their breath sample, while those who hyperventilated for 20 seconds before taking the test had a decreased BAC reading.
Mouth alcohol can also cause a higher reading. While breath testing machines assume that the alcohol from the breath sample came from deep-lung air, alcohol trapped in the mouth, throat, or stomach can have a significant impact on the breathalyzer reading. For this reason, officers are supposed to observe you for 15-20 minutes before administering the test to ensure that you do not consume anything, belch, or vomit.
Challenging Breathalyzer Evidence
Because there are so many known issues with the breath testing machines, you should not plead guilty simply based on your breathalyzer reading. A Utah DUI lawyer can work with a breathalyzer expert to determine if your result was valid or if there were any errors that could have impacted your test.