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The problem with breathalyzers

| Apr 14, 2021 | OWI |

Breathalyzer tests are used to measure the level of alcohol in someone’s breath. They’re often used in traffic stops when someone is suspected of driving under the influence. They are a useful tool in helping keep roads safe, and they’ve been used since the 1950s. In general, they’re reliable. But drivers in Wisconsin should know that sometimes, there are problems with breath tests.

Maintaining a breathalyzer

Breathalyzers are tools and like any other piece of equipment, they need to be maintained well to be effective. If there’s an error with a breath test, it can keep a dangerous driver on the road. Or, it can take a perfectly law-abiding driver off the road. Recently, the Michigan State Police uncovered problems with the Breathalyzers they used. Of the 300-plus units they were using, many needed to be recalibrated before putting back into service.

Michigan wasn’t the only state that had a problem. In Massachusetts and New Jersey, about 30,000 Breathalyzer tests have been ruled inadmissible. Either they were administered incorrectly, or there were other problems. In fact, in 2019, the New York Times conducted an investigation of Breathalyzer tests and found serious problems. These tests can lead to people losing their licenses or even doing jail time.

If you’ve been pulled over, it may be unwise to accept the results of the test uncritically. Anyone who’s been charged with DUI should look for a lawyer who has experience with drunk driving charges. They may be more knowledgeable about potential flaws in the system. An experienced lawyer may be able to help you successfully challenge the results of a breath test in court.