Are Breathalyzers Accurate?

Breathalyzers are made to test a person’s blood alcohol content, but as you may know, they use a person’s breath to analyze this. You may be asking yourself, why do breathalyzers test a person’s breath instead of blood? This is the source of the problem with breathalyzer accuracy.


Studies have confirmed that breathalyzers have a margin of error, and many can be off by as much as .01%. As you may be aware, this chance of error can easily throw you over the legal limit of .08%, and ultimately land you with a DWI. Why do breathalyzers fail to accurately measure blood alcohol content? There are many factors that may contribute to an inaccurate breathalyzer reading. For instance many argue that in order to convert blood alcohol content (BAC) from the level of alcohol in the breath, a ratio is used that applies to most people, but because not all people are the same, this ratio may not apply to all people. Also, medical conditions like diabetes, certain diets, and some over-the-counter medicines can skew a breathalyzer’s BAC finding. Even a high body temperature can produce a false high result.

Texas and Breathalyzers

Even though evidence suggests that breathalyzers do not accurately measure blood alcohol content, these devices are still used by law enforcement to test for DWI. However, if you do not feel comfortable taking a breathalyzer test, you can refuse it. Refusal of a breathalyzer test could result in the suspension of your drivers license, but being charged with DWI is much more serious. If you do take a roadside breathalyzer test, it is important to remember details of that day (such as what you ate and any medicines you may have taken) to determine if you may have received an inaccurate breathalyzer result.

Criminal Defense Attorney

If you have been arrested for DWI, it is important that you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to take on your case. At Carroll Troberman, PLLC, we have years of experience fighting DWI cases in the Austin area. Do not hesitate to contact our office so that we can start building your case.

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