Anyone pulled over driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or higher can be charged with driving under the influence. The most accurate way of determining someone’s BAC is a blood test, however these are inconvenient and invasive, especially during a traffic stop. In most cases police officers will administer field sobriety tests or a breath test instead in order to determine blood alcohol content.

However, there are indications that breath tests using handheld devices called breathalyzers are often not completely reliable. Why is this?

Why Are Breathalyzers Inaccurate?

While this type of breath test can establish probable cause for a DUI, they are often found to be unreliable and inaccurate. They often do not hold up in court. Why is this?

There are a variety of factors that can influence and skew a breath test such as:

  • Software error
  • Other substances
  • Improper calibration
  • Human use error
  • Environmental factors (i.e. paint fumes and chemicals in plastics)
  • Only testing once

These are just a few reasons your breathalyzer result may come back with an inaccurate number. In some cases, it may register you as above the legal limit even if you are not. According to a number of studies, there are significant margins of error in these tests when not properly administered.

What Can I Do About This?

If you suspect you have been improperly arrested for a DUI you may want to contact an attorney who can help you with your case. Oftentimes, breathalyzer tests alone do not stand up in court. An experienced defense attorney may be able to help you in these situations.