Why Breathalyzer Results Aren’t Foolproof

Aug 25, 2016 | drunk driving

According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, from Jan. 1 of this year through July 4 alone, highway patrol enforcement officials issued more than 13,800 citations to drivers for operating a vehicle under the influence. The penalties associated with a first OVI offense in Ohio are significant and include time in jail, up to $1,000 in fines and a driver’s license suspension for a time period of three months to three years.

Think about how your life would be impacted if you suffered these penalties. How would you get to work or transport your kids to school? What financial sacrifices would you have to make to pay a $1,000 fine? What would it be like to spend time behind bars? For professional drivers with a commercial driver’s license, an OVI citation and conviction means the revocation of a CDL and often results in significant financial hardships.

In cases where a police officer suspects that a driver may be under the influence of alcohol, a Breathalyzer test may be administered. While a key piece of evidence in the prosecution of OVI cases, it’s important to know that the results of Breathalyzers are not always accurate.

3 Reasons Why Breathalyzer Results May Be Invalid

  1. User error – A Breathalyzer test must be administered correctly. Likewise, a police officer must know how to correctly calibrate and interpret the test’s results. In cases where there are questions and concerns related to these issues, the results of a Breathalyzer may be deemed invalid and inadmissible in court.
  2. Instrument errors – A Breathalyzer is a device that must be properly stored and maintained. In cases where there are questions related to the instrument’s condition, use or maintenance: the results of a Breathalyzer may be invalid and should be called into question.
  3. Illegal use – A police officer must have both reasonable suspicion to pull a driver over and probable cause to believe that a driver was intoxicated to administer a Breathalyzer. If either of these issues is in question or disproven, the results of a Breathalyzer may be thrown out.

If you are facing OVI charges, it’s important to consult with an attorney who has experience fighting against drunk driving and other types of driving and traffic violations. An attorney will thoroughly review your case to determine whether law enforcement officers made procedural or other errors. The discovery of these types of mistakes can mean the difference between charges being dismissed and spending time in jail, paying costly fines and losing your driving privileges.