If you have been charged with DWI in North Carolina, there’s a surprisingly good chance that your blood or breath test results are inaccurate. If your test results aren’t correct, your case can be dismissed. Learn more about what you can do to fight your charges and show that the results are skewed.
Common Reasons for BAC Inaccuracies in North Carolina
There are many different reasons a blood or breath test can be wrong in a North Carolina DWI case. Making one or more of the following arguments could work to get your charges reduced or dropped altogether with the help of a skilled NC criminal attorney. It’s important to fight back against your charges to avoid the legal consequences. Read this list to see if any of them apply in your case.
If you ate food that was infused with alcohol, you may test above the legal limit. Entrees or desserts with alcohol that hasn’t completely evaporated can show up on a breath test and push you past the limit.
A burp right before or during a breath test can result in a false positive test. Your stomach produces gases during digestion. Some of those gases can register on a breath test, even if they were produced by non-alcoholic foods like homemade bread.
Perhaps you rinsed your mouth with mouthwash that had a high alcohol content before getting behind the wheel. Certain types of mouthwashes can produce elevated breath test results.
If you smoked while drinking, the chemicals in a cigarette can make a breath test read higher than it would only for alcohol use.
If you recently had dental work, alcohol can get trapped in between the spaces of your teeth. Even a few extra drops of alcohol can raise the results of your breath test.
A cough medicine that contains alcohol can produce a positive reading on a breathalyzer test. Cough drops that contain menthol can also show up on a breath test.
Certain medical conditions can produce vapors that register on a breath test. Diabetes patients have ketones in their system, and the ketones produce acetone that is picked up by a breathalyzer.
Using certain chemicals before driving can cause them to show up on a breath test. Hairspray, cleaning fluids, paints, lacquers, glues, and other chemicals have been known to produce false positives.
Absorption Rate Not Considered
If you had one drink right before you drove, your body would not have had time to absorb the alcohol to impair your ability to drive. Your test may read higher than the limit, but the alcohol had no impact on your system, so you cannot be charged.
This one should only be used in very specific situations where there is clear evidence.
Improper Breathalyzer Procedures
Breathalyzers are notoriously inaccurate. They must be properly calibrated, administered in the correct way, and used by a trained professional.
If the law enforcement officer hasn’t been trained to use it properly, or fails to calibrate it before use, the results can be off. Additionally, the officer should repeat the test a few times to compare results.
If you can show that the officer did not use the breathalyzer in the right way, your breath test may be stricken from the record.
Blood Test Failure
When you are taken to the station, they will collect a blood sample to determine your blood alcohol content. Only trained professionals know how to collect and store blood, so it does not become contaminated. If someone lacks training, they may not be able to collect blood in a way that will produce a true result.
The blood must be mixed with the exact amount of chemicals and properly sealed to produce an accurate test. Also, if your blood is mislabeled or stored past an expiration date, it cannot be used as evidence in your case because it could ferment or have a chemical imbalance.
Understanding How North Carolina BAC Testing Can Be Wrong Is the First Step
As you can see, there are many ways that breath and chemical tests can go wrong – with you suffering the consequences. With so many known problems, it is a wonder that they are even used at all.
This is the way our legal system currently works, though, so your first step in arguing against DUI test results is to understand the various ways they can be wrong – or at least to get someone on your side who does.