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Blood-alcohol testing: Why it's not fool-proof in every instance

Many of our readers across Florida have likely read stories or otherwise heard of cases where a stopped motorist who was administered a breathalyzer test and subsequently convicted of drunk driving flatly contended that he or she was not under the influence of alcohol.

Is that believable?

Most assuredly, it is, with many such cases ultimately proving to be true.

The bottom line with breathalyzer testing and the results obtained through this method of ascertaining blood-alcohol content is that infallibility does not -- and never can -- attach to the results.

We discussed the problems that can arise with breath testing in an article on our website, which we revisit in today’s post entry, given the centrality of breathalyzer testing in many DWI/DUI stops.

As we noted in that article, testing results can be skewed for a number of reasons. Blood-alcohol content (BAC) can be influenced, for example, by the amount of liquid or tissue that is contained in a person’s blood cells. That amount differs in every case.

Additionally, an abnormally high body temperature can result in a spiked BAC level. Testing administered outdoors in cold temperatures can also cause breathalyzer error. So, too, can acid reflux or blood in a person’s mouth.

And, of course, stories concerning incorrectly calibrated breathalyzers are legion. When such is the case, justice is flatly absent, with convicted persons being deprived of fundamental fairness and their due-process rights. That is also true when a police officer lacks adequate training to administer a BAC test.

When a motorist believes that an error resulted from breathalyzer testing, he or she should act upon that belief by seeking strong legal representation to contest the results.

As noted above, breathalyzer-related errors are far from being anomalous.

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