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Flaws in breathalyzer and field sobriety testing

On Behalf of | Apr 23, 2024 | Criminal Defense |

Getting pulled over for suspicion of DUI can be a stressful experience. While law enforcement works diligently to keep the roads safe, even the most well-intended procedures can have limitations.

In Georgia, a combination of breathalyzer tests and field sobriety tests are often used to assess intoxication. However, these tests are not without their flaws, and understanding these limitations can be crucial if you find yourself in such a situation.

Breathalyzer shortcomings

Breathalyzers are designed to estimate Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) by measuring the amount of alcohol in your breath. While they serve as a common tool, several factors can impact their accuracy.

To begin with, certain medical conditions, like acid reflux or diabetes, can elevate breath alcohol levels independent of recent consumption. Additionally, recent use of certain medications can leave residual traces that skew test results.

Moreover, breathalyzers are complex machines that require regular calibration and maintenance. Improper upkeep or faulty equipment can lead to inaccurate readings. Furthermore, police officers are required to follow specific protocols when administering breathalyzer tests. Deviations from these procedures can compromise the test’s validity.

Field Sobriety Test limitations

Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs) are a series of physical tasks designed to assess coordination and balance, which can be impaired by intoxication. Common FSTs include the walk-and-turn, one-leg stand and Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) tests. However, these tests have limitations; injuries, fatigue or certain medical conditions can affect balance and coordination independent of intoxication. Not to mention that officers rely on their judgment to interpret FST performance. This can lead to inconsistencies and potential bias.

Knowing the limitations of breathalyzers and FSTs can empower you to make informed decisions if you ever get pulled over for DUI suspicion. Remember, consulting with a reliable legal team is always wise if you’re facing charges, even if you cooperated with testing. They can help you navigate the legal process and better ensure that your rights are protected.