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Facing a DWI? Why should you challenge breath analyzer results?

During the holidays, many people drink more than they normally do. At holiday gatherings, alcohol is often free and free-flowing. Police in New Jersey and across the country know that and often step up DWI enforcement around the holidays.

Consequently, many people find themselves pulled over for a DWI for the first time ever. If a breath analyzer test shows that you are over the legal blood alcohol concentration level, you may feel like you have no option but to face the penalties. These can include jail, fines and loss of driving privileges.

Attorneys with experience defending people charged with DUIs know that your fate is not sealed by a breath analyzer test. These machines don't actually measure your BAC. Only a blood test can do that. They just estimate it. Studies have shown that almost of quarter of people given a breath analyzer test showed a higher reading than their actual BAC.

What can cause a breath analyzer to show an inaccurate reading? A number of things can. These machines identify the presence of ethyl alcohol, which is found in liquor. However, it also incorrectly identifies any of a number of compounds in the body as ethyl alcohol. People with diabetes, for example, have high acetone levels that can show up as ethyl alcohol. Certain types of bread can also cause a false reading.

Elements in the environment can also cause a false reading even when someone has consumed no alcohol. These include paint, gasoline and cleaning substances. People who have been in close proximity to these substances have registered BAC levels near or even over the legal limit without ingesting any alcoholic drinks.

Problems with the maintenance and calibration can also cause breath analyzer results to be unreliable. They have to be adjusted based on the air temperature. Further, if a person being tested has an above-normal temperature, the BAC reading may be elevated.

Many people arrested for DWI know that they were drinking and see no point in challenging breath analyzer results. However, even if you were over the legal limit, how much you exceeded it can make a difference in the penalties you'll face. That's why it's essential to let an attorney experienced in DWI cases look out for your rights. They know exactly what to question to help mitigate the impact of the arrest on your life.

Source: State University of New York, Potsdam, "Breath Analyzer Accuracy" David J. Hanson, Ph.D, Dec. 17, 2014

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