DUI Charges Are Serious. You Need the Best Legal Help Available to Give You the Best Chance to Beat Your Case.
If you refuse the test, you are punished more harshly by the Department of Motor Vehicles.
If you take the test and fail, this evidence will be used against you in court. What if you only had a couple of drinks and still fail? You might wonder if the results of your test gave you a false positive reading. In this situation, what do you do?
Call Tom Petersen and his team with Petersen Criminal Defense Law right away if you have DUI charges after taking a breathalyzer. Tom will analyze your case to find the key to a successful defense.
Breathalyzer False Positive Causes
Breathalyzer tests are just like any other scientific test. The test must be reliable to have any evidentiary value. But breathalyzer tests are done by machines, and machines don’t always work correctly.
Because they are fallible, breathalyzers can give a false positive test. And since the readings of these fallible machines can cause you to lose your freedom, you need someone in your corner who can challenge the result of a defective test.
What Can Cause a False Positive Breathalyzer Test?
One common reason for a false positive breathalyzer test is alcohol that lingers in your mouth. Saliva usually helps digest residual mouth alcohol within a couple of minutes.
However, alcohol can end up in your mouth after drinking when you regurgitate, have acid reflux, hiccup, belch, burp, chew gum, or vomit. Smoking can bring alcohol into your mouth and get it trapped there as well.
A person wearing dentures or who has other dental work can get a false positive test because alcohol can become trapped in dental fixtures. When the person with dental work blows into the breathalyzer, that can release the trapped mouth alcohol.
When the machine reads the alcohol levels as you exhale it cannot tell the difference between alcohol coming from your lungs or from your mouth—resulting in a false positive breathalyzer result.
How Does a Breathalyzer Work?
Breathalyzer tests measure the amount of alcohol in your blood. But the machine should read the alcohol contained in the depths of your lungs and not your mouth, throat, or esophagus. Air from the deepest part of your lungs gives the most accurate reading.
To understand how breathalyzers work, you should know a little bit about what happens when you consume alcohol. When you drink, the alcohol you consume becomes absorbed into your bloodstream.
Your circulatory system carries the blood into your lungs. When you breathe, the air you inhale oxygenates your blood. The blood settles in air sacs in your lungs. Then the heart pumps the freshly oxygenated blood to your body.
Alcohol molecules do not remain in the blood when they enter your lungs. Alcohol molecules from your blood are volatile. As a result, they escape into your breath. When you exhale, the alcohol molecules leave your lungs and travel through your mouth and nose. Breathalyzers measure the amount of alcohol leaving your lungs.
A Breathalyzer False Positive Can Result in Your Arrest
After the breathalyzer machine reads the alcohol in your breath, it translates the amount of alcohol molecules it detects into a reading called Blood Alcohol Concentration, or BAC.
Nebraska law says that a person operating a vehicle while having eight-hundredths of one gram weight (0.08) of alcohol per 210 liters of breath is guilty of DUI.
You might know that 0.08% is what people call the “legal limit.” Because Nebraska law prohibits a person from driving with a BAC of 0.08% or higher if your reading is over this amount the police will charge you with DUI.
Why Is it Important to Contest the Breathalyzer Tests?
Nebraska is an implied consent state. That means you consent to take a breathalyzer or another chemical test simply by driving in the state. Refusing the chemical test is a crime. On top of facing possible criminal charges for refusing the test, you will suffer an administrative license suspension as well.
With the help of an experienced Nebraska DUI defense lawyer, you might have a winning defense to your DUI charge. The officer who gives you the breathalyzer has rules to follow. They must watch you closely for 15 to 20 minutes before administering the test.
The officer has to watch you to see if you belch, vomit, chew gum, eat, or hiccup before taking the test. This procedure is designed to make sure you have no residual mouth alcohol that could invalidate the results.
These tests are not foolproof. There are other questions that need to be answered, and issues that should be looked at to determine if your test was properly given. A seasoned defense attorney knows how to present your case to raise the question of whether the officer properly administered the test.
They can also challenge whether or not the machine was properly maintained by the department. Was it routinely calibrated for accuracy? Did the officer ensure that you provided an adequate test sample? Did they screen you to see if you had a medical condition that could alter the results?
Fighting your case on these grounds, and others could give you a chance to beat your DUI charges.
Call Nebraska DUI Defense Attorney Tom Petersen Today if You Want to Know More About What Can Cause a False Positive Breathalyzer Test
Nebraska DUI defense lawyer Tom Petersen and his team with Petersen Criminal Defense Law are ready to fight for justice on your behalf. Tom has over 25 years of criminal defense experience that he could use to help you.
As a member of the National Advocacy for DUI Defense organization, Tom continues to expand his skills and knowledge to better serve his clients. The results speak for themselves. Tom’s peers recognized him as one of the top 50 out of 5,000 criminal defense lawyers in Nebraska.
Call 402-509-8070 right now to get Tom working on your DUI case.