When facing charges for driving under the influence, you may find some relief in knowing that the equipment used during roadside testing oftentimes does not work properly. As reported by the New York Times, field devices not calibrated correctly may show your blood alcohol content level higher by about 40%.
Hand-held roadside testing devices that operate on sensitive fuel cells and electrical currents may also detect the alcohol content coming from a driver’s saliva. Strong breath mints, toothpaste or mouthwash products may trigger the fuel cells and produce electrical currents. The increased electrical currents generated from saliva could cause the testing device to misinterpret your BAC level. The skewed measurement may deviate significantly from your actual BAC and impairment level.
The roadside breathalyzer test generally provides an estimate of a motorist’s BAC level, but in situations in which it displays erroneous information, the available field evidence may nonetheless result in a DUI charge. Some law enforcement officials purportedly do not receive sufficient training to administer a breath test properly.
Before an officer has the authority to require you to submit to a breathalyzer test, he or she must have reasonable cause to suspect impairment. Observable signs of impairment generally include swerving on the road or slurred speech. A failed cognition test generally results in submitting to a breath test. If a roadside testing device displays your BAC over the legal limit of 0.08%, however, a law enforcement official must arrest and charge you.
Empire State residents could find themselves arrested and charged with a DUI because of skewed field testing-device results. Avoiding a conviction may require proving a lack of impairment at the time of your arrest or providing evidence that the breathalyzer machine did not work properly.