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Can Faulty Breathalyzers And Field Sobriety Tests Cause DUI Problems?

The fallout of a DUI arrest can turn your world on its head. Notice of the charges could be published in local newspapers, spread across social media and you may suffer the stigma of being branded a drunk driver. That’s why it’s critical to enlist the help of an experienced Houston DUI attorney who knows how to challenge a faulty arrest.¬†Officer administering breathalyzer to a woman

What is a Field Sobriety Test?

It’s important for drivers to understand that law enforcement officials have strict protocols to follow when¬†administering a field sobriety test. Once they believe someone is above the legal blood alcohol limit (BAC) due to things such as slurred speech or other traits, officers can ask you to exit the vehicle for a roadside examination.

An acceptable procedure in Texas generally follows the three facets established by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) known as the Standardized Field Sobriety Test. These include the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus, Walk and Turn, and Stand on One Leg

If you have been asked to complete a field sobriety test that strayed from accepted practices, the resulting arrest could be challenged in court. And, dashcam video from the police cruiser could result in the case being thrown out. That being said, a subsequent breathalyzer test could also be fraught with problems.

Can a Breathalyzer Test be Faulty?

We live in a culture where science tends to give definitive answers to our questions. But when it comes to the so-called “science” of BAC examinations, science can be far from exact. It is not uncommon for drivers to post erroneously high BAC readings due to things such as the following:

  • Poorly Maintained Equipment: Failure to calibrate breathalyzer machinery can cause skewed readings.
  • Inexperienced Administrators: The person giving the test may cause a false reading due to human error. Testing requires trained technicians who follow proper procedures and recognize variables.
  • Health Issues: From diabetes to acid reflux, there are numerous health-related issues that can cause a faulty BAC reading.
  • Environmental Considerations: Oral hygiene products, hand sanitizers and other items in the immediate proximity of the machinery can throw off the results.

If you have been charged with DUI and believe the results from the test were incorrect, imagine for a moment that things such as food caught in dental work and low-carbohydrate diets can result in errors. Science provides us with a wealth of accurate information in many areas. Unfortunately, breathalyzer equipment can be hypersensitive and result in a wrongful and embarrassing drunk driving arrest.

If you have been charged with DUI or DWI, contact an experienced Houston criminal defense attorney and clear your name.


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