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Looking beyond the numbers on a breath test

One of the most common pieces of information that prosecutors use against a person accused of drunk driving is his or her results of a breath test showing that he or she was over the legal limit. 

However, the numbers on these breath tests warrant closer inspection, as they could be inaccurate. In recent years, researchers have detected flaws with the breath test machines that could lead to inflated numbers.

What are the flaws?

According to reports, there are potentially several conditions that can lead to faulty results from a specific breath testing machine, the Alcotest 9510. These conditions include:

  • Flaws in the device's source code
  • Lack of or improper breath temperature adjustments
  • Operation when the device is too hot or too cold
  • Degradation of the fuel cells
  • Failure to re-calibrate the device frequently enough

These conditions can reportedly lead to inaccurate results. In some cases, these inaccuracies might seem insignificant. However, even if they are inflated by a single percent, a person could wind up facing DUI charges even though he or she may not be over the legal limit. 

What does this mean for people accused of DUI?

While these concerns are certainly troubling, police in every state continue to use breath test machines including the Alcotest and others regularly. 

Scrutinizing breath test administration and results can be a critical piece of a person's defense to DUI allegations in Tennessee. Doing so can uncover any issues or failures that could lead to dismissal of the results; without these results, prosecutors may not have enough evidence to secure a conviction. To determine if this is an appropriate strategy, it is important to consult an experienced DUI attorney. With legal guidance, you can better understand your rights and defend yourself against damaging criminal allegations.

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