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Many and varied criticisms surround DUI breathalyzer use

On Behalf of | Nov 26, 2019 | Dui Charges

You know you’re in a realm of challenge and uncertainty when you’re pulled over in your car by an Illinois state trooper or police officer and directed to blow into a breathalyzer device.

That enforcement tool is of course applicable in situations where law enforcers suspect that a motorist has been driving drunk. Breathalyzers are a standard tool employed in roadside DUI encounters, with the blood-alcohol-content (BAC) readings they display often serving as the foundational evidence that secures drunk driving convictions.

They’re infallible, right?

We suspect that readers of our Fairview Heights criminal defense blog posts know the answer to that rhetorical question. Few people likely believe that breathalyzers actually churn out DUI-linked readings that are unerringly accurate and routinely promote just outcomes in alleged instances of behind-the-wheel intoxication.

And for those who do, there is a veritable mountain of empirically culled and vetted evidence existing that might reasonably alter their opinion.

Like this, for example: Federal regulators from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration state that false BAC readouts sometimes occur with diabetics and dieters. Inhaled chemicals linked with everyday agents and compounds can spawn breathalyzer mistakes.

Or this: The group National Motorists Association cites a stunning 50% margin of error for breath-testing devices. Coupled with that, one recent and notably comprehensive study stresses that improperly calibrated breathalyzers routinely produce excessively high BAC readouts.

The history on breathalyzers is both well-documented and clear, underscoring the verified flaws that have always emerged periodically to undercut proponents’ claims that the devices are routinely error-free.

Patently, they are not. Questions concerning any issue relevant to a drunk driving charge can be directed in candor and confidence to an experienced DUI defense attorney.