Law Offices of Michael T. Nolan, Jr.

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What can impact breath test results?

If you have been arrested and charged with a suspected drunk driving offense in New Jersey, you may have been asked to consent to a breath test. Such testing is intended to get a baseline reading for your blood alcohol content. However, is it always accurate? Are there things that can interfere with a final BAC reading?

Bactrack indicates that there are, in fact, some things that may impede a breath test unit from returning a fully accurate result. Breath test units must regularly be tested and calibrated for proper operation. If calibration is not set accurately, results may not be correct. The software that powers these units may also malfunction, impacting the final results. The presence of other substances in the area or even within your mouth can also skew the results. Examples of these include paint fumes, breath mints or mouthwash.

In addition to the above factors, operator error can occur. While law enforcement officials are supposed to be trained on how to use breath test devices, there is no way to prevent a particular officer from making a mistake. It is well known that blood testing is the most accurate way to truly report a person’s blood alcohol level. However, breath tests are still relied upon for the purposes of making arrests. This is, quite frankly, the case out of sheer logistics. Breath test devices are more portable and practical in field situations even though they are not as reliable as blood tests.

This information is not intended to provide legal advice but general information about testing accuracy for alcohol breath collection devices in New Jersey.

 

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