The portable breath test is a common part of a DUI traffic stop. These tests are typically conducted after a field sobriety test, and many drivers believe that a failed breath test means an automatic conviction for DUI. While a failed breath test often leads to an arrest for DUI, it does not guarantee a conviction.
There are many factors that affect breath test accuracy.
Breath tests need maintenance and calibration
Portable breath test equipment requires regular maintenance and calibration to ensure accurate readings. Every department keeps logs showing the last service appointment for each machine. If the test used in your stop has not received maintenance and calibration recently, it may produce inaccurate results.
Proper administration methods matter
Every officer equipped with a portable breath test should receive comprehensive training for proper test administration. Deviation from those procedures may cause inaccurate results. Dash camera footage and officer notes may clarify the procedures used in case of violations.
Your body temperature affects the results
Especially in peak cold and flu season, you should know that your body temperature can alter your breath test results. The higher your body temperature, the higher your breath test will typically read. If you have a fever or are ill at the time of your traffic stop, contest the results of the breath test.
A DUI conviction is never a foregone conclusion, even after an arrest. There are many ways to fight DUI charges, including medical claims as well as these options for contesting the accuracy of the breath test results.