Breath Test Errors in Hampton Roads DUI Cases

When someone is pulled over on the suspicion of drunk driving, the officer may administer a breath test. The breath test can be used to measure a person’s blood alcohol content level to determine if the person is under the influence of alcohol or not.

In Virginia, if someone’s blood alcohol content is 0.08 percent or higher, there is a presumption that they are under the influence. If the test is between 0.05 and 0.07 percent, there is no presumption drawn at all. If it is below 0.05, it is assumed that the individual was not intoxicated. When a person has a breath test that comes back at below 0.08 percent, the Commonwealth, in many cases, will still pursue a DUI conviction.

It is important for you to know that are several different ways a breath test can show an inaccurate reading. Therefore, if you have been charged with a DUI, you may want to seek the services of an accomplished lawyer who is knowledgeable about breath test errors in Hampton Roads DUI cases.

Temperature of a Person’s Breath as a Defense

It is possible that the temperature of a person’s breath can affect the results of a breath test. To show that the temperature of the breath impacted the results, scientific evidence would need to be presented by the defendant and their lawyer.

The newer breath machines are supposed to account for changes in temperature. However, the standard breath machine will adjust the person’s temperature to be around 35 degrees Celsius. If the results show that a person’s breath was at a much higher or lower temperature than that, an experienced attorney could make an argument regarding the temperature of the defendant’s breath. The machine is supposed to account for the person’s breath temperature, however, errors do occur and it can be brought up as a defense to show that the machine did not provide an accurate sample.

Alcohol-Based Products Could Cause an Error

Any product that has any trace amount of alcohol, such as cough syrup or mouthwash, can have a possible effect on a breath test. It is common to see people trigger their mouth locked devices because they used mouthwash. It is unlikely that someone could drink enough mouthwash on their own to register a 0.08. What is more likely to happen is an underage driver blowing a .03, which triggers an airlock device on their car.

Person’s Teeth Impact on Breath Test

When it comes to breath test errors in Hampton Roads DUI cases, anything that is in a person’s mouth could affect the results. When an officer decides to administer the breath test, they must observe the individual for a 20 minute period to make sure they do not consume anything that could impact the results. This includes food or drinks. If a person has dentures or there is some sort of filing in their teeth, it could impact the breath test.

Health Conditions Affect on Test Results

Acid reflux is an example of a health condition that may alter the results of a breath test. During the officer’s 20 minute observation period of the individual, they also want to make sure the person does not vomit or belch, as this could affect the results of the test. Any alcohol that came up while the person vomited will linger longer than 20 minutes.

How a Defendant Could Help Their Lawyer

For a lawyer to have the best opportunity to defend someone, they will need the individual to tell them everything that happened regarding the breath test. An attorney will want to know when the defendant had their last drink or of any stomach ailments they may have. A lawyer cannot argue things that they do not know, which is why it is essential to give the lawyer as much information as possible.

To find out more information about breath test errors in Hampton Roads DUI cases, call a well-established attorney today.