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How accurate are breathalyzer tests?

If an officer pulls you over and suspects you are driving under the influence of alcohol in New York, then he or she will probably ask you to take a breathalyzer test. While you have the right to refuse, you could face further legal issues if you do. However, you may wonder just how accurate the test is. If you fail, you are going to jail, so should you really trust the test?

According to Proctor Cars, a breathalyzer measures the amount of alcohol in your breath. It cannot provide a completely accurate reading. It is just an estimate. In fact, these tests have an average error rate of up to 15 percent. A blood test is much more accurate, but doing these in the field when an officer pulls you over is impossible. You may get a blood test later to verify the breathalyzer results because the breathalyzer results may not be admissible in court.

The only type of breathalyzer test results a court will allow as evidence are from full-cell breathalyzers. This is because they are the most accurate. However, many officers do not have access to them because they are the most expensive type of machine.

You should also note that your test results may be inaccurate for other reasons beyond the machine. Things you eat or drink could influence the results. Your body temperature or certain health conditions can also affect it. Finally, electrical interference may have an impact. So, breathalyzer tests are not very accurate when you consider everything that could affect them. This information is for education and is not legal advice.

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Hall, Ricketts, Schuller & Gurbacki, P.C.
471 Main Street
East Aurora, NY 14052

Phone: 716-243-3515
Fax: 716-652-2058
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