Dusek Law - Criminal Defense
Your DUI Pro
Weekends & Evening Appointments
Available 24 Hours
Free Consultation 701-746-4107
Toll Free 877-387-3524

Know Your Rights!
Call Us First.

Our Goal is to Exceed the Expectations of Our Clients

The unreliability factor of breath test devices in Minnesota

The unreliability factor of breath test devices in Minnesota

Although Minnesota law enforcement uses breath test devices to determine whether a driver is intoxicated, these devices may not always give accurate results.

When Minnesota law enforcement officers pull people over on suspicion of drunk driving, they may use breath test devices as a way to measure how much alcohol drivers have in their systems. In Minnesota, the results obtained from a hand-held breath test device may be used as evidence in court, according to Minnesota Statutes. Yet, many studies show that breath test analyzers are inherently unreliable. A simple miscalculation may lead to a wrongful DUI conviction.

What are breath test devices?

Breath test analyzers are hand-held devices that evaluate a driver’s blood alcohol content level. The driver is asked to blow a breath sample into a tube connecting to the device. The device then determines how much ethyl alcohol is in the breath sample and converts the number into a blood alcohol content level. There are several factors that can affect a breath test reading, and in some cases, alter the reading to such an extent that a person is erroneous found guilty of DUI.

Factors affecting breath tests

According to the University of New York at Potsdam, breath test devices pick up more than just the ethyl alcohol group when evaluating a person’s breath sample. The devices also pick up methyl groups, which can be found in a variety of substances other than alcohol. In fact, up to 80 percent of the compounds found in human breath contain methyl structures. The following can also affect a breath test device reading:

  • Eating certain bread products or using mouthwash prior to testing
  • Breathing paint, gasoline, paint thinner or cleaning fluid fumes
  • Traces of vomit or blood in the subject’s mouth
  • Electrical interference from police radios and cellphones
  • Tobacco smoke and dirt in the air
  • The surrounding humidity and air temperatures

Breath test devices must be calibrated correctly to ensure they are working properly. These analyzers can also give false results when they are misused by a law enforcement officer.

Inaccurate results

The University of New York at Potsdam reported that breath test results can vary by more than 15 percent when compared to actual blood test results. Studies also show that 23 percent of all drivers that use a breath test device will have results measuring higher than their actual blood alcohol content level. This is further proof that measuring a person’s BAC level through a breath sample rather than an actual blood test can have inaccuracies and may lead to unnecessary penalties.

How an attorney can help

People who are charged with DUI in Minnesota face severe consequences, including fines and jail time. With a DUI on their record, many people will have difficulties finding employment or obtaining a professional license. A DUI defense attorney may help you explore your options and build a case to help you clear your record.

Keywords: DUI, drunk driving, breath test

Image

Our Blog

No DUI arrests or accidents on New Year’s in Fargo

New Year’s Eve is typically a time for celebration for many throughout the greater Fargo Metro and beyond. Many times, revelers use alcohol to help bring in the new year, particularly champagne, and historically, New Year’s Eve and the early morning hours of New...

Car crash leads to DUI arrest

The decision to drink and drive is never a good one. Not only can it lead to an accident; it can lead to arrest, and those convicted of such offenses face life-altering consequences that go beyond any time served. Unfortunately for one Minnesota man, his decision to...

Understanding your drug paraphernalia charges

Most people in North Dakota already know that it is illegal to possess illicit substances such as cocaine, heroin or other drugs. However, did you know that you can also face criminal charges for having drug related items? Drug paraphernalia charges are probably even...

Don’t fall into the holiday DUI trap this year

The holidays provide us with a chance to take a break from the stress of life to relax with our friends and family in a festive atmosphere. Unfortunately, ever year these festivities also lead to a dramatic spike in DUI convictions and drunk driving accidents. Nothing...

Image

Articles