Chemical evidence often seems irrefutable to people facing charges or serving on a jury. People put so much faith in physical evidence and chemical tests that they can question their own experience because of test results.
If a police officer pulled you over and suspected alcohol impairment, they may have asked you to perform a chemical breath test. You agreed because you knew you would pass, but then the test showed that you were over the legal limit. The officer arrested you, and now you find yourself facing drunk driving charges.
You might start to question whether you had more to drink than you thought or if maybe someone had spiked your drink and you didn’t even realize it. In reality, if you don’t remember drinking or carefully monitored your consumption, it may be the test that is wrong, not your memory. What are two of the more common reasons that chemical breath tests provide inaccurate positive results?
The police department hasn’t maintained the unit properly
There are multiple systems available for chemical breath testing, and each of them operates slightly differently. Still, they are all highly sensitive and specialized devices that require calibration, training to use them properly and routine maintenance for accurate results.
Police departments often fail to calibrate devices or update the software before using them. The records from the police department could help you determine if such mistakes may have influenced your test results.
The person performing the test has unique characteristics
Much of science focuses on what works well for most situations. Nothing in science is truly absolute, so it makes sense that a test that would work for the majority of people may return inaccurate results in specific, unique situations.
Health issues in the person performing the test or even the recent use of certain medications could compromise the accuracy of the breath tests. The police officer should inquire about issues that they know could alter the accuracy of the testing unit, but they may not take someone’s word for it if someone asserts that their diet or underlying health condition affected the accuracy of the test result.
Understanding how frequently chemical breath tests fail could inspire you to fight back when that test result is the reason you face drunk driving charges.