When an officer wants to determine if you are under the influence during a traffic stop, he or she will typically administer a breath alcohol test. These tests require the use of a machine or device.
According to the New York Times, such alcohol breath tests have many issues with them that may render them inaccurate.
Incorrect readings and human error
One of the issues with alcohol breath testing devices is they produce inaccurate readings. The manufacturer may say they are correct and calibrated to give the most accurate result possible. However, during testing, they often show incorrect results that are far enough off to make a difference.
These machines and devices are not foolproof. They require training to use properly. It is too common for officers to not receive the proper training they need to operate the devices correctly. Incorrect use can cause unusable results.
In addition, they require proper calibration. The majority of devices lack proper calibration because officers do not know how to do it. It also is due to failing to maintain the machines. Machines not kept in proper conditions will not work right, and this happens a lot.
Impacts of bad machines
When a machine is not running correctly or an officer uses it wrong, it will not produce proper results. In many cases, attorneys representing those charged with driving under the influence due to alcohol breath testing are able to uncover the issues with the machines. They seek an acquittal and win because they can show the machines are not in the proper condition or the testing process was bad.