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How do you know if a Breathalyzer took a bad reading?

You were stopped by an officer for a taillight that had gone out. You didn't think much of the stop, and you appreciated him telling you that your light wasn't working. Just as you thought you'd be able to continue on your way, the officer asked you if you'd been drinking. He believes you smell of alcohol.

The truth is that you had a single drink, but nothing more. You know you should pass the breath test easily. Despite that, the results are clear: Twice you failed. The first time, you had a blood alcohol concentration of .08 percent. The second, it was .12. The officer is convinced, but you're not. How could the numbers be so high and so far apart with just seconds between tests?

The truth of the matter is that the Breathalyzer may not have been calibrated correctly, or the officer may have given you the test incorrectly. Breathalyzers, like other professional equipment, must be calibrated. If there's more than a .02 difference between readings so close together, there's a high likelihood that the Breathalyzer was not working correctly.

To be admissible in court, the readings have to be within .02 percent of each other. If not, you can ask to have the case dismissed, which is potentially what you'll want to do in your case. Your attorney can help you prepare the evidence, so you can fight against the allegations and work toward having the case against you dropped. Technical errors should not result in fines or penalties for people who are otherwise innocent of their alleged crimes.

Source: FindLaw, "Breathalyzer Calibration," accessed Feb. 16, 2018

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