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Breath tests and field sobriety tests can be wrong

On Behalf of | Apr 22, 2024 | Criminal Defense |

Although every case is unique, there are two main types of tests that are used in DUI cases. The first is a field sobriety test, such as the one-leg stand. Officers will often administer this test on the side of the road after they have stopped a driver that they suspect of being impaired. If the driver fails a handful of field sobriety tests, the officer may make an arrest, believing that that failure is evidence of impairment.

There are also various breath tests that can be administered. Some are portable breath tests that can be given out on the side of the road. More often, officers will bring the suspect to the police station and have them use a Breathalyzer.

Why would these tests be wrong?

With field sobriety tests, a big part of the issue is that the police officer is still making a judgment call about whether or not the person failed the test and whether or not that failure indicates impairment. Someone could fail the test because they have hearing problems and they don’t hear the officer correctly, or because they’re feeling sick and so they’re a bit dizzy or unsteady on their feet. They aren’t impaired, but the officer doesn’t know that.

With a breath test, there is more definitive proof of a person‘s blood alcohol concentration, but even this can be wrong. Perhaps the officer made a mistake while giving out the test, or maybe that officer never got any training regarding how to use the device. Maybe the device itself was faulty, it was an outdated model, or it hadn’t been calibrated and properly maintained at the police department. Even though the reading may show an elevated BAC, is that reading accurate?

If you are facing drunk driving allegations, it’s important to consider the evidence against you and why it could be inaccurate while looking into your defense options.