If you fail a breath test, can you still fight your charges?

On Behalf of | Feb 15, 2023 | Blood Alcohol Tests

Chemical breath testing involves a police officer gathering a sample of exhaled air and using a specialized piece of equipment to analyze the chemical composition of the exhaled gases. Many people think of breath testing as highly accurate, if not borderline infallible testing science.

However, breath test results are not nearly as reliable as people often assume. In fact, breath tests frequently return false positives. Individuals who had nothing to drink or who were not over the legal limit could end up accused of drunk driving because of an inaccurate breath test result.

Those who believe the test results were wrong in their case might have grounds to challenge the results in criminal court as part of their defense strategy.

Why breath test fail

There are quite a few different explanations for why the results of a breath test might not align with someone’s legitimate version of events. The first would involve someone who has a medical reason for failing the test. The second would involve improper test administration or device maintenance. Finally, there are questions about the value of breath testing in general, given how many ways there are to cause a false positive.

There are also many reasons why the results of a chemical breath test could show someone as over the legal limit when they had very little or nothing at all to drink. Someone who was sick to their stomach, who used mouthwash or who took certain medication could fail a breath test. So could someone with certain common medical issues, like unmanaged diabetes. Anyone with a medical explanation for their test results could use that as a starting point for their defense strategy.

Some people are able to challenge the accuracy of a specific test unit. Others develop a successful defense by providing a medical explanation for their test results. There are numerous strategies that can potentially work when the only evidence the state has is a breath test and the defendant maintains their sobriety. There could even be the possibility of questioning the legality of the initial traffic stop and therefore any evidence the police collected while interacting with someone.

Learning more about options for fighting back against South Carolina drunk driving charges will benefit those recently arrested during a traffic stop and charged with impaired driving.


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