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Common Reasons For Breathalyzer Tests To Over Estimate BAC Levels

If you are suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) in Tennessee, the law-enforcement officer will likely request you to submit to a test to determine your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level. The Metro Nashville Police Department uses two different types of breath alcohol machines, the EC/IRII and the Alcohol Sensor V.

There are some common reasons for breathalyzer tests to overestimate the true BAC level:

  • Long breath holding prior to breathing into the machine
  • Long exhalation time in breathalyzer, as well as burping
  • Testing during absorption phase
  • Presence of mouth alcohol or alcohol in stomach gases reaching the mouth, a medical condition commonly called acid reflux
  • Elevated body temperature
  • Presence of an interfering substance, such as acetone, which may be present in the breath of diabetics and people on high-protein diets

In addition, the breath test machine may not be properly calibrated or it may be defective in some way. A DUI defense lawyer will thoroughly review these factors as well. If the breath test results can be shown to be unreliable, it may be possible to suppress the test as evidence. This could fatally weaken the state's case and result in a dismissal of the charge or reduction to a non-alcohol traffic violation.

All of these variables must be considered when defending a DUI charge in Middle Tennessee. A skilled and experienced DUI defense attorney would minimize the prosecution's "scientific" guessing and presentation of unreliable and inaccurate evidence.

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To learn more about your defense options, contact May & McKinney, PLLC by calling (615) 265-6383.