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Problem with faulty breath tests reportedly fixed

As we mentioned earlier this week on our Athens, Georgia, DUI defense law blog, former Atlanta Falcons player Ray Buchanan was arrested over the weekend for allegedly driving drunk. Buchanan did agree to take a breath test and the results of the test revealed that the former NFL player was above the legal limit of 0.08 in Georgia.

Had Buchanan refused the breath test, police might not have had enough evidence to support DUI charges. At the same time, Buchanan could have faced a 12-month driver's license suspension had he refused to take the breath test. Although the results of the breath test revealed a reading of 0.08 or higher in Buchanan's case, folks who have agreed to take breath tests after being accused of DUI need to understand that not all tests are administered properly.

When a test is not administered properly by law enforcement officers or other qualified individuals, the results of a breath test could be inaccurate.

Last year, law enforcement authorities in D.C. had to stop using breathalyzer machines altogether because it was discovered that the machines officers had been using were faulty. In February 2010, a consultant had discovered the breath test machines had not been calibrated correctly.

As a result, the machines were not giving accurate readings when used on drivers who were suspected of driving drunk. In fact, some machines were inflating drivers' blood alcohol levels by 20 percent. It is estimated that as many as 400 people were wrongly convicted of DUI in D.C. due to the faulty machines.

Last week, law enforcement authorities were told that they could begin administering breath tests again now that they have been equipped with new breath test machines. Although the machines are allegedly working correctly now, folks might be wondering how common it is for breath tests to be administered incorrectly without drivers even knowing.

Source: Washington Post, "DC police to resume Breathalyzer program," Peter Herman, Sept. 25, 2012

  • Our firm provides counsel to those who have been charged with DUI and other alcohol-related offenses. To learn more about our criminal defense practice, please visit our defending DUI charges page.