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Are Breathalyzers Always Reliable as Evidence?

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Breathalyzers are considered reasonably accurate. And while that might be enough to keep the roads safer with fewer drunk driving incidents, the ‘reasonable’ part of that last sentence can leave much to be desired for drivers accused of having disqualifying levels of alcohol in their blood. Thousands of tests are thrown out yearly because of false results, human error, and lack of oversight.

Scientific studies suggest that breath tests are accurate only about 40% of the time. The margin of error for a breathalyzer is between .005 and .02% in blood alcohol concentration (BAC) readings. The more invasive blood test is considered to be more accurate.

What Are Breathalyzer Calibration Requirements?

One of the most common ways to challenge a DUI charge is to question whether the breathalyzer was in proper working order during the test. Breathalyzers must be properly calibrated, cleaned, and maintained.

Other factors for a proper breathalyzer device include:

  •  The device itself must be one of the approved devices for law enforcement use.
  •  It must be properly maintained and recalibrated at regular, set intervals.
  •  The test subject must not burp, vomit, smoke, or regurgitate bile immediately prior to the test.
  •  The police officer using the device should be certified to use the device in question and must use it according to their training.

Can You Refuse a Breath Test?

While the police cannot force you to undergo breath testing, you must comply with a request for a breathalyzer. Even with all the questions about the legitimacy of breathalyzer test results, failure to comply and undergo the test can have serious consequences.

Not only will the refusal to take the test be read as suspicious to a future jury, but you may see your car impounded, your driver’s licence suspended, and possibly also receive fines or jail time. In addition to those punishments, you will have a criminal record now, which can have far-reaching consequences.

Take the test.

How Can DUI Lawyers Challenge Breathalyzer Results?

Too many people are convicted for DUIs based on faulty or false evidence due to the unreliable nature of breathalyzers. For this reason, it’s crucial that you reach out to an experienced DUI lawyer to learn the legal options available to you after an arrest.

As your lawyer, criminal defender William Jaksa can explore the possibility of challenging the breathalyzer test results. Because if there was a problem with the device used to test your BAC – regardless of how minor a problem it might have been – then that could call the entire test into question and potentially result in having your DUI charges thrown out.

Among the most common ways to challenge the breath test results is to raise the issue of the breathalyzer device calibrations. If the calibrations were off, then it stands to reason that the test results may be off, too.

In addition to checking on the basic calibrations of the breathalyzer machine, a criminal defence lawyer can question whether the test was appropriately conducted at the hands of the police officer.

Schedule a Consultation with a Toronto DUI Lawyer

If you were arrested for impaired driving in Canada, you need to understand that breathalyzer devices are not always the most trustworthy pieces of evidence. Knowing that, you may have avenues for challenging the breath test results and having the DUI charges dismissed. Because the fact is, if the breathalyzer was faulty or improperly maintained, then you were never impaired or over the limit in the first place.

To pursue these legal options, however, it’s strongly recommended that you retain the legal services of a trained criminal defence lawyer.

William Jaksa Criminal Litigation has years of experience serving clients across Toronto with years of experience serving clients across Toronto with DUI cases similar to yours. With a strong reputation, a sterling track record of success, and the respect of colleagues and clients, lawyer William Jaksa is a trusted lawyer for those needing an aggressive, no-nonsense criminal defence.

To schedule your case evaluation, please call us today at 647-951-8078.

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