How to challenge a Breathalyzer test

On Behalf of | Aug 11, 2021 | Criminal Defense |

All states make drunk driving illegal. Police officers in Monroe, North Carolina, may conduct several sobriety tests to check drivers for intoxication from drugs or alcohol. A common assessment that police officers use is the Breathalyzer test, but it doesn’t always give accurate results.

Overview of North Carolina DWI laws and Breathalyzers

A Breathalyzer is a device that uses a breath sample to measure the concentration of alcohol in the blood. These devices commonly have a mouthpiece that the driver blows into and a chamber to hold the sample, but devices vary.

North Carolina uses the initials DWI or driving while intoxicated when referring to drunk driving. DWI charges may apply for drivers who measure a BAC of 0.08 or greater, even when the vehicle is not in motion. Commercial drivers measuring 0.04 and drivers under 21 measuring 0.02 can get charged with DWI under zero-tolerance laws.

Challenging Breathalyzer results

A driver charged with DWI may be able to mitigate the outcome by claiming that their BAC was because of prescription medication. Some blood pressure medicines, OTC medicine, anti-depressants, asthma medication, and pain relievers cause false positives. Also, some everyday products, such as mouthwashes and OTC coughs, and cold medication, sometimes produce false positives.

If an officer does not have proper training on how to use the device, it may also affect the results. Police officers are required in most states to follow the 20-minute rule of observing the driver.

Certain health conditions have been known to skew results, such as diabetes and acid reflux disease. These conditions often cause the body to produce high amounts of acetones that show alcohol concentration on the test.

A driver can use several defenses to fight what they believe are inaccurate Breathalyzer results. While drivers can refuse these tests in North Carolina, it doesn’t prevent the prosecution from charging drivers if officers suspect them of driving under the influence.