How Accurate are Breathalyzers?

Drivers across the US are charged every day with DUIs. Many of these drivers are charged simply because they failed a breathalyzer test. 

One of the biggest questions clients ask our firm is “Are breathalyzers accurate?” Another frequently asked question is “Can I be acquitted even if I failed the test?”

Breathalyzers are not 100% accurate.

A piece of advice if you have been charged with a DUI; contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer to help defend your case.

Breathalyzers are not perfect measurement tools. For this reason, it is possible for a test to return a false positive. An experienced DUI lawyer like those at the Kent Law Firm can help defend you against a DUI charge. 

Why are some breathalyzers unreliable?

There are a variety of common household items, foods, and accessories that can trigger a false positive in certain DUI tests, especially if the device is administered incorrectly.  

Cough syrup, mouthwash, nuts, energy drinks, perfumes, cologned, breath strips, and many other items could trip the device into returning a false-positive result. 

Some breathalyzers detect ketones, which are molecules that resemble alcohol. An example might be the popular Keto diet. There is a chance a breathalyzer exam could register above the legal BAC for driving if actively abiding by the Keto diet guidelines. 

South Carolina DUI laws.

In South Carolina, a blood alcohol content (BAC) of above .08% is deemed to be ‘above the limit.’ All breathalyzer tests have a margin of error. Even if your real BAC is below .08%, a breathalyzer test could read a result above that, causing a DUI charge. 

For more information on DUI charges and their possible consequences and defenses, check out this page.

What to do if pulled over on suspicion of a DUI?

Here are 3 things you should do if you are charged with a DUI: 

  • Be polite. Being erratic or rude can damage your prospects.
  • You have a right to remain silent. Apart from showing the required documents to law enforcement, you do not have to say anything else. 
  • Contact an attorney. The sooner, the better. 

An attorney can use a few methods of defense to help your case. Some things that an experienced DUI defense attorney can question are:

  • Was the breathalyzer test conducted properly?
  • Was the device used maintained properly? 
  • Was the law enforcement agent who administered the test trained?

A violation of any of these questions can result in charges being dropped. For these, and other reasons, contacting an attorney could be your best bet at beating your charges.

Contact us.

If you or a loved one are facing a DUI charge in South Carolina, contact us today. 

Our firm has years of experience fighting criminal charges and defending our clients’ rights. Call our law office today at (803) 433-5368 to schedule your free consultation.