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Understanding a breathalyzer: How they malfunction

When you're accused of a DUI, you need to know that the evidence is accurate. If it's not, you face charges for something you may not have even done. For example, if the officer takes a breath sample that says you have a 0.1 percent blood alcohol concentration but your BAC is actually .05, that's a major difference and the difference between a drunk driving charge or going home that night.

Blood alcohol tests are most accurate when they're taken from blood. Despite that, breath tests performed on roadsides are standard and used as evidence in court.

Are breath tests accurate?

Uncontested studies show that breath tests aren't always correct. They have a margin of error of up to 50 percent and several possible ways to skew the numbers.

Burping during a test, using certain mouthwashes or eating certain foods could skew the breathalyzer test's results. Certain medical conditions also have the potential to alter the rests of the test, causing you to face a DUI charge when you're not actually over the legal limit.

How can you disprove a DUI test?

Your attorney has several methods that he or she may use to disprove a breath test. For instance, he or she may question the training of the officer. If you suggest you burped during the test, this might work as evidence against it. Additionally, testing the actual breathalyzer for accuracy or looking at the last time it was calibrated could help show that it's not in working condition and that any recent tests should not become evidence against someone facing a DUI charge.

DUI evidence helps the prosecution win its case, but only if it's accurate. Challenging evidence is your right and something that could help you avoid a prison sentence or fines.

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