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Breath test results can be filled with inaccuracy

If you find yourself stopped by a police officer who suspects you have been drinking and driving, you may worry about how this situation will go. You may know that under Texas implied consent law that you could face penalties in the event that an officer requests a breath test and you decline to take the test. However, you may worry how information from a breath test may be used against you later.

Because breath tests do not have a reputation for accuracy, especially hand-held models, you may fear that the results of your test may indicate a blood alcohol content level over the legal limit even if you have not consumed much or any alcohol. In reality, this type of outcome could take place as many factors could impact the results of such tests.

Factors that impact BAC readings

When you take a breath test, many personal and environmental factors could impact the outcomes of that test. Some of those factors include:

  • Temperature: If your body temperature reaches a point above normal, the results of a breath test could indicate a BAC level higher than it actually is. In fact, for every degree over average, the test results could increase by 8 percent. Additionally, if the officer does not calibrate the testing device to account for air temperature, inaccurate readings could also occur.
  • Acetone: Most people have acetone present in their bodies due to the breakdown of fat. However, individuals on diets or those with diabetes could have acetone levels that go far beyond the levels of the average person. Because breath test machines sometimes read acetone in the same way as alcohol, it could indicate a higher BAC level.
  • Other ethyl group substances: Alcohol falls into the methyl group in terms of its molecular structure. If a breath test picks up on any compound in your breath that also falls into the ethyl group, like acetone and numerous others, it could falsely identify it as alcohol.

Due to the inaccuracy of breath test results, your test could indicate a BAC level at or over the legal limit even though you have not consumed alcohol. As a result, you may find yourself facing charges.

Challenging breath test results

Breath test results often come under scrutiny in court due to inaccurate outcomes of those tests. In order to help defend against the DWI charges brought against you, this information could prove invaluable. Additionally, if you believe that the officer did not follow proper testing procedures or failed to follow other protocols, this information could also work in your favor. In order to find the best strategies for your case, you may wish to review your criminal defense options.

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