Anthony M. Salerno

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Anthony M. Salerno

Attorney At Law

Did your minty breath taint the results of a Breathalyzer test?

On Behalf of | Feb 22, 2018 | Blog

It’s not uncommon to want fresh breath when you’re going on a date. Most Massachusetts residents can relate to wanting to look and feel their best when planning a night out with a special someone. Nothing can ruin a date quicker, however, than getting pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving on your way home. If you and your date did share a drink or two, what follows after you see red and blue lights flashing in your rear view mirror might complicate your life for months to come.

Although your initial reactions might include worry and a bit of embarrassment (especially if the officer asks you to step out of your vehicle and your date is left sitting alone in the car), it’s crucial in such circumstances to keep control of your emotions, remain as calm as possible and cooperate as best you can.

This is not to say you must do anything and everything the police officer requests, however. For instance, if he or she asks to search your vehicle (which would obviously be even more embarrassing for you and your date), you do not have to comply if the officer has not produced a valid search warrant. They may also ask you to take a breath test.

Keep this in mind if you do

A Breathalyzer test measures whether any alcohol is present in your blood stream. The problem is that many factors can adversely affect the accuracy of the test, producing faulty results. In fact, mouthwash (many of which contain alcohol), other breath fresheners and toothache medicines can trigger inaccuracy in a device. The following things can also skew Breathalyzer test results:

  • Improper calibration: Breathalyzer devices run on batteries (which should be replaced often) and they should also be regularly calibrated to function properly. Only trained technicians can properly calibrate a device, which involves adjusting the internal software of the machine so it correctly measures blood alcohol content.
  • External materials: If there’s any paint, adhesive, or fumes from varnish or other such materials in the vicinity, this can cause a Breathalyzer device to produce inaccurate results.
  • Not repeating a test: To get the most accurate result from a Breathalyzer, repeated tests are necessary. Consistent results across several tests demonstrate accuracy.
  • Software issues: Software is software, whether installed in a computer or in a breath test device. Software is prone to bugs and glitches that can definitely mess up Breathalyzer test results.

Hopefully, your date is a forgiving person who understands these things sometimes happen. People get pulled over and are sometimes unexpectedly charged with drunk driving or other offenses. It’s unfortunate when it happens on the way home from a fabulous date, but it needn’t be the end of the world or your relationship, if things were going well.

In the meantime, you might face some lofty challenges trying to avoid conviction. If you believe your rights were somehow violated or the results of a Breathalyzer test were inaccurate, you can take the matter up with an experienced Massachusetts defense attorney who will know just what to do to address the situation in court.

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