Can sobriety tests be faulty in a DUI arrest?

| Aug 28, 2020 | DUI

When a police suspects that someone is driving while impaired, they will conduct a series of tests to see if the driver might be driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Cops often ask drivers to exit their vehicle to perform different physical actions or have them blow into a breathalyzer. While conducting standard field sobriety tests and collecting a breath sample, an officer can make mistakes. Someone’s health history might impact their test performance too.

Health conditions

Common tests a DUI suspect will perform involve staying balanced. During the walk-and-turn test, a suspect must walk in a straight line. And the one-leg stand test requires a suspect to stand on one foot for several seconds. So, if someone has a balance disorder or even an ear infection, then they might not be able to pass these tests. This is because they could appear to be impaired swaying their arms or losing their balance.

A breathalyzer device used to measure a suspect’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) can also reveal a level that is inaccurate due to someone’s physical health. For example, if someone naturally has a higher body temperature, then their test results may be higher. If someone is hyperventilating or has acid reflux, then their breath sample might also reflect an incorrect reading.

Technical and administration errors

Both breathalyzer and other sobriety test results can be inaccurate if the arresting officer improperly instructed the suspect. Breathalyzers can also display that someone’s BAC is above the legal limit if there is electrical interference or improper calibration.

Maybe an officer told you to stop breathing into the breathalyzer before the machine did. Or perhaps everyone in your car had cell phone that may have created interference. If you believe the breath sample taken during your arrest or your sobriety test performance was incorrect for any reason, then a criminal defense attorney can help build your case.