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Naples, Florida

Breathalyzer test defense and refusal

On Behalf of | Feb 2, 2022 | Drunk Driving

The laws of most states allow an officer to conduct a Breathalyzer test on suspected drunk drivers. A Breathalyzer measures the blood alcohol content level by using a breath sample. However, the results aren’t always accurate, and drivers in Naples, Florida, can challenge them.

Challenging Breathalyzer results

A Breathalyzer must be calibrated periodically, which is checking the accuracy, or it will increase the chances of false positives. The defense in drunk driving cases may file a request to check the calibration records of the Breathalyzer.

Residual alcohol, or traces of alcohol in the mouth, is another common issue that may produce false positives. The traces of alcohol often come from everyday products, such as mouthwashes, breath sprays, and cough syrups. If the driver vomited or belched before they got stopped, it may force the residual alcohol into the Breathalyzer.

Some medical conditions, such as diabetes and acid reflux, cause the body to produce acetone, which has alcoholic properties. The acetone may also produce false positives after exposure to it in certain occupations, such as painting.

Refusing to take a Breathalyzer

Many drivers mistakenly think not taking a Breathalyzer test will help their case, but it can be used against them. Implied consent laws in the state presume the driver has consented to chemical testing by having a license.

If a driver refuses a post-arrest Breathalyzer, they face a one-year license suspension on the first offense. If they refuse to take the Breathalyzer a second time, the license suspension increases to 18 months. Refusing to take chemical tests commonly makes them ineligible for the diversion program to get a lighter sentence.

A DUI charge can lead to serious consequences, such as jail, fines, and increased insurance. However, if a driver thinks the Breathalyzer is inaccurate, they may be able to suppress that evidence.