A Breathalyzer device does not always render an accurate test result. In fact, the result will be particularly inaccurate if police fail to calibrate the Breathalyzer properly. For this reason, test results rendered by an inappropriately calibrated breath test devices are sometimes thrown out and cannot be used as evidence against a drunk driver during his or her criminal proceedings.
North Carolina DWI defense lawyers who understand the calibration standards that apply to Breathalyzers can use this knowledge to assist their clients and — in some cases — they can seek to have breath test results invalidated during trial proceedings. Here are the most basic calibration standards defendants should understand:
- Police must maintain a list of acceptable breath test devices, and the Breathalyzer device used to test the defendant must appear on this list.
- Police must adhere to a regular testing and maintenance program that applies to the breath device used to test the defendant.
- The police officer who administered the breath test must have been appropriately certified to use the particular device that measured the defendant.
- The police officer who administered the test must have administered it in a way that followed his or specific training received.
- The officer who administered the breath test needs to make sure that the defendant did not burp or regurgitate during testing — and did not smoke, vomit or eat — for a specific amount of time before testing.
- The breath test needs to take at least two readings that were within .02 percent of each other.
If you suspect that the police did not adhere to the above or some other Breathalyzer test standard, you might want to look deeper into whether your breath test results were accurate. If you can call the accuracy of your breath test results into question, getting this evidence thrown out during your criminal trial could assist you in your DWI defense.