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The problem with breath tests

When police in Louisiana suspect a person of driving under the influence of alcohol, it is common practice to perform a traffic stop in order to have that individual participate in field sobriety testing. If field sobriety testing is refused, with a warrant, blood-alcohol testing may be completed at a police station instead. One test, the breath test, is deemed by some to be the most accurate way to determine whether a person is sober. Is it really, though?

According to a recently published article, breath tests are not all they are cracked up to be. The simple truth of the matter is, these machines are known to give false readings, causing numerous individuals to be arrested and charged for driving under the influence when they probably should not have been. An investigation by the New York Times found that breath analysis machines in most police stations skew the results. Knowing this, how can law enforcement continue to use them? How can the results of these tests be taken seriously in court?

Roughly one million Americans are charged with drunk driving every year. Many of those charges result from failed breath tests. Not all of these people will end up convicted, however. Thousands upon thousands of individuals will have their breath test results thrown out because of human error, mechanical error or insufficient governmental oversight. So, police can keep using them, but courts do not have to accept test results if there is a reason to believe they are flawed.

Many Louisiana residents may believe that failing breath tests means that they will be convicted. They do not think they can fight the results. This is simply not true. With the assistance of legal counsel, fighting DUI charges by questioning the validity of breath test results may be possible.

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