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Breathalyzers are not always reliable

On Behalf of | Oct 23, 2020 | Criminal Defense

If the New Jersey police stop you and ask you to take a Breathalyzer test, you can be penalized for refusing. If you agree and fail the test, you may assume you have to accept the charges, even if you believe you are under the limit. However, this is not the case. Breathalyzer tests are not 100% accurate. You can contest the charges.

These are some of the reasons Breathalyzers can produce errors:

  • Other sources of alcohol: It is ironic that when someone has drunk heavily, they often use mouthwash to disguise the smell later. Yet, many types of mouthwash contain alcohol. Your mouthwash may push the Breathalyzer reading over the limit if the police stop you after you’ve used some.
  • Fumes: If you have ever creosoted a fence, spray-painted your car, or opened a tin of solvent to repair a fiberglass boat, you will know that the fumes can cause your head to spin. Many of these substances could also cause a Breathalyzer to misread.
  • Operator error: Like any machine, there is a correct way to use one of these devices and the wrong way. The software can also go wrong occasionally, just like your computer.
  • Lack of maintenance: If you do not maintain your car, it will gradually develop faults. The same goes for a Breathalyzer test unit. They need regular calibration by someone who knows what they are doing. 

If charged with a DUI offense in New Jersey, seek legal help to assess your options. It is even more critical if you are not yet an American citizen, as a criminal conviction could affect your ability to stay in the country.