Most Georgia residents link the term “Breathalyzer” with getting pulled over DUI. They understand that if a person fails a breath test, they may be charged and could possibly be arrested. However, research has shown that breath tests are not as reliable as was once thought. There is a lack of transparency and consistency when it comes to DUI testing.
There are a number of factors that have contributed to this. On the one hand, companies that produce breath tests and DUI blood alcohol testing equipment are interested in protecting their intellectual property, so they are not as transparent as some might like when it comes to discussing the technologies behind their equipment. On the other hand, some law enforcement agencies lack sufficient staffing and funding to dedicate the time that might be needed to examine the results of breath and blood alcohol testing.
A big reason for some errors in breath tests is the inherent flaws with the machine and the programming. These flaws may go unaddressed or ignored. There is also the problem of hardware that has not been calibrated properly.
Local governments and state governments have no incentive to pressure the companies behind breath tests to have their products scrutinized. This is because flaws and errors that are found could negatively impact ongoing cases being pursued by local and state law enforcement.
In cases where these machines are scrutinized and errors are found, these errors may be kept out of the public eye to protect the manufacturer. If the manufacturer does require a software update, some state or local labs do not do the required updates.
The situation with breath tests underscores the importance of people seeking help from criminal defense attorneys when they have been accused of a crime. A criminal defense attorney may be able to defend their client by bringing to light circumstances like faulty breath tests that put the client’s guilt in doubt. This might result in charges being reduced or in charges being dropped.