Free Consultation (970) 485-2261

Did a faulty breath test result in your arrest?

Posted on May 20, 2019

Your drive home was routine, and nothing seemed out of the ordinary until you saw the flashing lights behind you. Before you knew it, you were sitting in the back of a police car under arrest for drunk driving. Things only got worse from there because your breath analysis test showed that your blood alcohol concentration was .08.

In Colorado and most other states, .08 is DUI per se. In other words, even if you passed all the roadside sobriety tests and were not demonstrating any erratic driving, your BAC of .08 is enough for authorities to presume you are legally impaired. You may be surprised to learn that, even with so much riding on this test result, the equipment police use to test your BAC is not always reliable.

Are the test results accurate?

A breath test is one of the most common devices in use by law enforcement to determine whether a driver is impaired. Many police officers carry portable devices in their vehicles, but Colorado law obliges you to comply with the test using the larger machine at the police station. You submit a sample of your breath by blowing into the device, and the machine estimates how much alcohol is in your blood. Unfortunately, any of the following may be a valid reason to question the accuracy of the results:

  • The officer administering the test did not receive adequate training for use of the machine.
  • The officer does not have certification to use the specific model of breath analysis device that measured your BAC.
  • The model of device police used is not in conformity with Colorado law.
  • Officials did not properly clean and calibrate the machine before using it for your test.
  • Officers proceeded with the test immediately after you had burped, vomited, eaten or smoked, any of which can skew the test results.
  • The officer administering the test failed to do a second test to verify the results, or the second test did not read within .02 of the first test.
  • The device has a history of providing erroneous test results.

Challenging the results of the breath test is a good place to start for building your defense against the DUI charges. Your attorney can obtain access to the maintenance records of the machine as well as other evidence regarding your original traffic stop and arrest. You may find some peace of mind in having a skilled attorney in your corner fighting for your rights.