A breath test is often used during a traffic stop to determine if a Georgia resident is driving under the influence of alcohol. If the test is positive, it usually means your blood alcohol level is above the legal limit for driving. However, a breath test can return a false positive. There are ways to dispute breath test results in a court of law.
Cast doubt on the reliability of the test
Positive results on a breath test are taken seriously in the courtroom. The judge or jury hearing a DUI case will generally accept the accuracy of a breath test. However, some breath tests are faulty and unreliable. Questioning the accuracy of the test is one way to challenge the results.
A breath test can return a false positive if the mouth has substances containing alcohol. Examples of these substances include mouthwash, breath fresheners and medicines for toothaches. In such a situation, alcohol vapor in the mouth can cause a false positive.
Question the calibration of the testing device
A breath test won’t work correctly if it’s not properly calibrated. Anyone wishing to challenge breath test results can argue that the testing device wasn’t calibrated. An officer will likely have to testify under oath that the device was calibrated during the arrest.
Question the arresting officer’s training
An officer must have training to use a breath-testing device. There are different brands of devices, and they don’t all work exactly the same. It’s possible to question whether or not the arresting officer had adequate training to use the testing device. A judge or jury might consider the results unreliable if the officer wasn’t properly trained.
Deny the officer’s probable cause
Most importantly, the officer must have had a reason to make the traffic stop. Maybe the driver was breaking traffic laws or driving erratically. During the traffic stop, the officer had probable cause to issue the test if the driver had slurred speech, smelled like alcohol or behaved erratically.
If the officer had no reason to give the test, that means the officer didn’t have probable cause. Lack of probable cause could result in the breath test results getting thrown out.
A DUI conviction can have a negative impact on your life. You might face time in jail, the loss of your license or huge fines. A DUI can also affect your employment. If your breath test returned a false positive, you might consider challenging the results.