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How accurate are DUI breath tests?

On Behalf of | Dec 1, 2021 | DUI |

When an officer pulls you over on suspicion of a DUI, you will likely undergo some form of blood alcohol content (BAC) level test. Breath analysis tests like the Breathalyzer rank among the most popular.

But just how accurate is a breath analysis test? Is it possible for one of these tools to incorrectly identify you as having a BAC level over the legal limit, even if that is not the case?

What causes breath test device errors?

Business Insider takes a look at the accuracy of breath test analysis for DUI cases. While many of these tests do have a high accuracy rate, it is never impossible for one to malfunction or give an incorrect reading. For example, the officer administering the test could have done it incorrectly. They may not properly maintain the equipment, or it might have broken without anyone noticing. It might be an older, outdated model with a higher margin of error.

On top of that, not every breath analysis device has the same level of accuracy. Some have more known issues than others, some are more finnicky to work with and others have a history of giving incorrect results or breaking easily. However, you should not deny a breath analysis test in the first place, as that comes with its own unavoidable consequences that you will still face even if your DUI charge gets dismissed.

Wrongful convictions

Unfortunately, an inaccurate breath test result could potentially contribute to a wrongful conviction on a DUI charge. However, if you can build a solid case that proves the results were not accurate, you could potentially get the entire case thrown out, which will restore your driving privileges automatically.