Ways to challenge a Breathalyzer

On Behalf of | Dec 17, 2021 | Criminal Defense

DUI laws give officers the right to pull a suspected driver over to test them for intoxication. The most common test they use is a Beathalyzer, which requires a breath sample. However, breathalyzers do not always give accurate results and drivers in Georgia can contest them with some defenses.

The device isn’t calibrated

Breathalyzer results are commonly used in court as evidence in a DUI case, but the device must give accurate results. A breathalyzer must be calibrated occasionally, which means testing the sensors to ensure they give accurate readings.

If the device isn’t calibrated regularly, it may damage the device and cause it to display inaccurate readings. The defense can request the records of the breathalyzer to check calibration and maintenance records from the police department.

Lack of reasonable suspicion and probable cause

An officer can not pull a driver over for suspected drunk driving unless they have reasonable suspicion or reason to believe the driver broke the law. The driver must have committed a traffic offense or other crime, such as excessive speeding, running stop signs, or constant swerving.

The officer needs probable cause to test the driver, which means they need more evidence, such as slurred speech. If one or both of these elements are not present in the case, the court may dismiss the charges.

Health conditions and diets

Certain health conditions may skew test results because they produce ketones, which are similar to alcohol. Diabetics commonly have high levels of ketones because of ketosis, a process that converts acetones to isopropyl alcohol.

The same effect can occur if a person is on a keto diet, which restricts carbohydrates, forcing the body to convert fat stores into energy. Gastroesophageal reflux disease and acid reflux are two other conditions that can cause a false positive from the ketone levels.

A driver that has been charged doesn’t always mean guilty, and prosecution has the burden of proof. In some cases, the driver may get the charge reduced to wet reckless.