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Just because it's a Breathalyzer doesn't mean it's accurate

Most of the dorm rooms and campuses at University of North Carolina, Warren Wilson, South College and other schools in surrounding regions are all but empty as summer breaks continue. Come August, many students will begin moving their things into the homes-away-from-home as they gear up for another post-secondary school year. Along with those arrivals comes a lot of socializing. Along with a lot of socializing typically comes one or more traffic stops on suspicion of drunk driving.

Just because police pull you over doesn't necessarily mean authorities will file charges, or, if they do, that a court will hand down a conviction, especially given the fact that breath tests are sometimes inaccurate. Such situations are usually very stressful, however, and those in the college crowd (or other) may want to brush up on Breathalyzer facts to help prepare them for the unexpected.

Facts that may surprise you regarding breath tests

The following list contains helpful information regarding breath tests often used by police officers if they think you've been driving under the influence of alcohol:

  • Breathalyzer is actually a brand name. There are many types of breath test devices. It's just Breathalyzer is so popular a brand, its name has become a colloquial term for the whole breath test process.
  • Results from a portable breath test administered on the side of the road are usually not admissible in court as evidence of drunk driving.
  • Breath test results can, however, help substantiate probable cause if a police officer files charges of intoxicated driving against you.
  • If law enforcement agencies do not properly calibrate Breathalzyer devices, the devices may produce inaccurate results.
  • Those who administer a Breathalyzer test are supposed to be certified to do so.
  • Mouthwash, cough syrup, breath mints and other products often contain alcohol as an ingredient and can result in false positives on Breathalzyer tests.
  • To be as accurate as possible, police should administer the Breathalzyer multiple times with a certain amount of time between tests.

No one wants to start off a new college semester on the wrong foot. Being charged with drunk driving would obviously be an example of that. However, by remembering that criminal charges do not constitute guilt and knowing where to turn for help if a problem arises, you may be able to mitigate even the most unfortunate circumstances.

Many others in North Carolina have been able to keep their college careers on track by reaching out for support and fighting against drunk driving charges in court.

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Just because it's a Breathalyzer doesn't mean it's accurate | Messer Law Firm