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Can you challenge breath test results in court?

If law enforcement officers pull you over for suspected DUI, they almost assuredly will ask you to submit to a breath alcohol test. What you may not realize is that because of Alaska’s implied consent laws, when you get your driver’s license, you consent to taking one of these tests when officers request it. If you refuse, Alaska will automatically revoke your license for at least 90 days. 

Alaska law says that if your blood alcohol content registers 0.08% or above on the testing device, you are legally intoxicated and officers have the probable cause they need to arrest you for DUI. But how accurate are these breath test devices? More importantly, can you challenge the results in court? 

Known inaccuracy factors

ProctorCars.com reports that your breath test result may come back unusually high under any of the following circumstances: 

  • You have diabetes. 
  • You had a high body temperature at the time of your test. 
  • You had recently eaten food containing vinegar. 
  • You had recently used a mouthwash. 
  • You had recently used a paint thinner. 
  • You had recently taken a legal prescription drug. 

Court challenge

Given that breath testing devices have inaccuracy rates of as high as 15% even without the presence of one of the above factors, your wisest strategy consists of challenging the results of your test at your DUI hearing or trial. This is especially true if you and your attorney can also prove that you did not drink before driving. 

Some experts estimate that innocent defendants represent upwards of 23% of all nationwide DUI convictions based on breath tests. You do not want to become one more of these.