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Bethesda DUI Breathalyzer Issues

Breathalyzers are generally considered reliable instruments by the court. However, there is a great deal of science out there that says breathalyzer tests are not reliable because they can be affected by many external forces such as weather, time, and error of the person operating the machine. Even though courts find them reliable, there are many arguments that a Bethesda DUI attorney may be able to make regarding the issues of these particular machines.


Breathalyzer tests have been deemed reliable as far as they demonstrate a person’s alcohol content level from a court’s perspective. Part of the reason courts feel that way is because not enough people raise challenges as to the accuracy of those breathalyzer tests.

It is important to know that while courts do determine and do believe breathalyzer tests are accurate, it is never a bad idea to do a thorough investigation of those breathalyzer test results and to challenge them at the appropriate time.

Inaccurate Readings

False positives or inaccurate BAC scores can come from a number of different things. The most common reason for false positives can result from medical conditions. They may suffer from certain kinds of acid reflux, for example. Those kinds of issues could have a big impact on a person’s breathalyzer test results in Bethesda. A person might blow into a device and get a breathalyzer test that is significantly skewed.

Calibration of Machines

The calibration of these machines is done by internal review. Generally speaking, there is a certificate that accompanies the machine telling the operator when the calibration is set to expire. However, that does not necessarily mean the machine is or has been properly calibrated.

There are many documents that can be requested from the breathalyzer test operator. Usually, they carry a binder with them about all of the information associated with that particular machine, the procedures, and the steps used to properly calibrate it. All of that information is available to the defense to inspect in advance of the trial so that the defense attorney is fully aware of what the government intends to introduce into the courtroom.

Blood Alcohol Content

Blood alcohol content is deemed to be an accurate evaluation of the driver’s level of impairment or intoxication and that is why the legislature has set up guidelines and said that if a person’s alcohol level is above a certain level, they will be a violator of the traffic article, which outlaws driving under the influence of alcohol or driving while impaired by alcohol.

Whether or not a person is actually under the influence or is actually impaired is a question of argument. Many people have different tolerances and are able to control their motor skills in different ways, depending on their weight, height, how their body processes alcohol, and any number of other factors.

Essentially, what the court has said is that a person’s tolerance is not what matters here. What matters is if they are above a certain level, they are breaking the law no matter what their level of tolerance is and no matter how their body reacts to alcohol.

It is important to recognize that even if a person feels like their motor skills are intact, they might still blow above the legal limit or have an alcohol level above the legal limit and be in violation of the criminal law, even if they were feeling fine, were okay to drive, or felt like they could handle the level of alcohol they consumed.

Challenging Breathalyzer Results

The most important way to challenge breathalyzer tests in Bethesda in court is to review all the language and documentation in the breathalyzer test binder and use that information to see if procedures were properly followed in terms of the calibration of the machine to challenge the admissibility of any results produced by that machine.

There are many arguments a defense attorney can make in a courtroom as to why the machine itself is not reliable. Perhaps it is not properly calibrated. Perhaps the person using the machine did not take the proper precautions to make sure to operates it properly. There are many arguments to be made about the validity of the breathalyzer test.

On the other hand, misconceptions from the defendant’s side are that a person could outsmart the breathalyzer machine by not blowing hard enough or trying to give a less strong breath of air into the device. The prosecutor and police officer know how to argue these tactics in court.