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Does a breathalyzer provide accurate results?

When a person is pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving in the Memphis area, they are often administered a breathalyzer test. The test is used to determine what a driver's blood alcohol content or BAC level is and if it's too high for them to legally be driving. But is this test as accurate as law enforcement says it is for DUI testing?

One breathalyzer test that may not be producing accurate results is called the EC/IR II. This test is quite popular and is used by over 130 law enforcement agencies in Tennessee. Up until 2013, this breathalyzer was only calibrated at .082 which some claim may have left room for error.

It is believed that a breathalyzer should be calibrated at several different points can ensure the results are accurate. In addition to the breathalyzer only being calibrated at one point, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation or TBI did not have a policy in place on how to calibrate the breathalyzer. This brings into question whether the instruments are reliable in the testing of BAC levels in citizens.

It is critical that the technology used to investigate a DUI charge is the most accurate and reliable available. The results of a breathalyzer test can mean the difference between someone receiving a serious DUI charge or not. A DUI charge can mean prison time, license revocation and many expensive fines.

A person who is facing a DUI charge has the right to an accurate breathalyzer test. When inaccurate results are used, a driver could face unnecessary charges and sentences. A legal professional skilled in criminal defense can review the situation regarding the arrest and the tools used to verify BAC levels. They can ensure their client receives the respectful and accurate treatment they are entitled to.

Source:, "Group of lawyers, defendants claim commonly-used breathalyzer is inaccurate", Alanna Autler, May 5, 2015

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