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By Matthew Maddox / August 8, 2023

Breath tests, commonly known as breathalyzers, are a common method Connecticut law enforcement officers use to measure a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) quickly and non-invasively during suspected instances of drunk driving. While the mainstream considers these tests to be accurate and admissible as evidence in court, they are not infallible, and there are instances where challenging their results becomes necessary.

Potential for inaccuracies

One of the primary reasons to challenge the results of a breath test is the potential for inaccuracies. Breathalyzers operate on the assumption that the alcohol content in a person’s breath is directly proportional to that in their bloodstream. However, various factors can lead to false readings.

For instance, certain medical conditions like acid reflux or diabetes may produce higher BAC readings without any actual alcohol consumption. Similarly, residual mouth alcohol from recent alcohol consumption or the use of certain mouthwash or medications can skew the results.

Calibration and maintenance issues

Law enforcement agencies are responsible for regularly calibrating and maintaining their breathalyzer equipment. Failure to do so can lead to erroneous readings and undermine test result reliability. Defense attorneys often investigate the breathalyzer device maintenance records and certifications to check for any irregularities.

Qualifications and training

The qualifications and training of officers who administer the test can also be challenged. Improper training or failure to follow the correct procedure during the test can influence the results. In your defense, you may inquire about the officer’s training records and cross-examining them can expose any potential errors or inconsistencies.

External factors

In defending a DWI charge, it’s important to consider external factors that can affect a person’s BAC at the time of the test. For example, if an individual consumed alcohol just before getting behind the wheel, their BAC might still be rising when the breath test is conducted, leading to a higher reading than their BAC while driving.

Mounting a viable defense

While breath tests are a common law enforcement tool, you do not have to blindly accept their results. There are several legitimate reasons to challenge a breath test, and mounting a strong defense can help you better navigate the legal process and work toward a fair resolution based on accurate and reliable evidence.