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Factors that Can Impact Breathalyzer Accuracy

The Law Office of Joel M. Bacher Aug. 25, 2018

If authorities in New Jersey have ever stopped you, you probably have firsthand knowledge of just how unnerving it can be to see those blue lights pop up behind you in your rearview mirror. If the law enforcement official who stops you also has reason to suspect you may have been drinking, you can anticipate him or her asking you to submit to a breath test using a Breathalyzer device.

If a law enforcement official subsequently charges you with drinking and driving, you can bet that the results of your breath test will play a big role in determining whether a judge finds you guilty. Because the penalties associated with drinking and driving in New Jersey are so substantial, it is critical that the results of your breath test are accurate. Several outside factors can impact breath test accuracy, however, and they include:

Improper or Insufficient Calibration

To produce precise results, Breathalyzers must undergo regular calibration. If they do not, they are prone to producing falsely elevated results, and this is one of the more common reasons New Jersey residents have their driving under the influence charges tossed out.

Electronic Interference

Electronic interference is something else that has the potential to throw off the accuracy of a Breathalyzer reading. Nearby cellphone towers is one example that may cause electronic interference when you take your breath test, and police scanners and radios are another.

Blood or Vomit

If you vomit right before taking your breath test, or if, say, you bite your lip and have blood in your mouth when authorities administer your test, know that vomit and blood also have the capacity to impact Breathalyzer accuracy.

A DUI conviction can lead to large fines, driving restrictions and, in some cases, jail time. If you suspect that the results of your breath test are anything other than exactly right, it may serve you well to dispute them.