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Are Alcohol Breath Tests Always Accurate in New York?

On Behalf of | Apr 20, 2020 | DWI |

NYC DWI defense attorney

Penalties for driving while intoxicated (DWI) in New York are steep, but many experts do not believe that the foundation of about a million convictions a year, the alcohol breath test, is anywhere near consistent enough to ensure guilt in many cases. If you were pulled over and are going to court for a DWI or DUI, it is important to have outstanding legal assistance to properly contest the potentially erroneous readings of a breath test. A lot is on the line, and strong legal defense from an experienced DWI attorney could help you avoid the fines, jail sentences, and license revocations that accompany a conviction.

Lack of Regulation and Flawed Results

A New York Times investigation in 2019 exposed the many faults not just of alcohol breath tests, but also of the regulations that are supposed to help guarantee their accuracy and of the labs where the tests are processed. Even though a million Americans are arrested for drunken driving each year, over 30,000 breath tests were discarded by courts in just a year. Many of those tests were inaccurate and led to wrongful convictions, while a portion could have acquitted dangerous drivers. The Times investigation showed that the technicians who analyze the tests often lack experience and that lack of oversight has resulted in countless improperly calibrated machines. In one of the worst scenarios, a Massachusetts analyzer machine had rats nesting inside.

Also, many experts found the breath analyzer machines themselves to be flawed. Most of the companies that manufacture them do not allow the public to purchase them, so it has been difficult for investigators to get a good look at the machines. Experts in the Times investigation reported that the code in some of these machines does not just have some errors, but thousands.

External Causes for Inconsistent Tests

A person’s health, build, age, and other external factors can strongly affect a breath test reading, and when such a small number—0.08—is used to determine guilt in DUI or DWI cases, inconsistency can easily lead to wrongful convictions. Even toothpaste, mints, and hand sanitizer can prevent police from getting an accurate reading, according to many experts.

Contact a DWI Attorney in NYC

The evidence against you or a loved one in a DWI case can be flimsy due to the inconsistencies of alcohol breath tests, and JOEY JACKSON LAW, PLLC can help you navigate the complex defense that has a chance to save you from conviction. To schedule a consultation, call 833-JOEY-JAC and 833-563-9522 to meet with a skilled Manhattan DWI defense attorney with 40+ years of experience defending clients in DWI proceedings.