If asked, most people in New Jersey would likely report that the results of a Breathalyzer test are important when it comes to allegations of drunk driving. Though field breath tests are not admissible in court as evidence in most states, they do often trigger an arrest and additional testing that is admissible. Unfortunately, some reports indicate that tests involving analysis of the breath of a person who is suspected of being under the influence of alcohol can have inaccurate results, resulting in inaccurate accusations of DUI.
Despite the inadmissibility of breath tests conducted in the field, blowing a minimum .08 is often one of the first steps on the path toward conviction. In fact, most states use some sort of device intended to detect alcohol on the person’s breath. Unfortunately, reports indicate that these results may be inaccurate. In fact, tens of thousands of convictions related to drunk driving charges have been thrown out due to errors regarding breath tests.
There are a variety of issues with these tests. For example, some tests are purchased and used against the advice of the states’ own experts. Additionally, the machines require calibrations to work accurately, and if that hasn’t been properly done, results could be 40% higher than reality. Some labs have been found to use their own chemical mixtures that then result in inaccurate readings. Law enforcement officers in one state is even accused of using a device that had rats nesting in it.
In addition to issues with maintenance and administration of the tests, there are also certain substances, such as toothpaste or breath mints that could result in accurate results. Unfortunately, many people facing accusation of DUI in New Jersey, perhaps because of results from a breath test, may not be aware of the lack of reliability associated with the results. For this reason, among many others, it is important to have a professional with experience with such cases to carefully examine the events leading up to an arrest and the evidence that supports allegations before deciding how to best respond to the allegations.