Can I Challenge DWI Breath Test Results?

It’s alarming to think that one inaccurate breath test reading could earn you costly fines, a suspended driver’s license, a criminal record, and sometimes even loss of employment. In North Carolina, such a thing is possible. That’s why it’s important to know the ways an attorney can help you challenge your breath test results if you’ve been charged with a DWI.

In this blog post, we’ll cover:

If you have been charged with a DWI, do not lose hope or assume the worst before speaking with an attorney. At The Trevor J. Avery Law Firm, we have experienced DWI attorneys that can help: 910-405-8459.

Factors That Can Cause False Positive Results

Breathalyzers may be seen by many as accurate and easy to operate, but the truth is that they are not fool-proof and do not always produce flawless readouts. This can occur due to such things as:

  • Poor maintenance of the breathalyzer

  • A law enforcement officer incorrectly administering the test

  • Residual mouth alcohol

  • “Unusual” chemical composition in a person’s body due to diet or pre-existing medical conditions

Diet and Residual Mouth Alcohol

A lot of people are surprised to find out just how many dietary, non-alcoholic, or residual alcoholic variables can result in a false positive result. Some of these include:

  • Ketogenic (“low carb, high fat”) diet

  • Recently smoked cigarettes

  • Recently used mouthwash

  • Chewing certain breath-freshening gums

  • Recently ingested cough syrup

  • Sucking on cough drops with menthol

Even an empty stomach, a case of acid reflux, or burping while the test is underway could cause a false positive.

Pre-existing Medical Conditions

Medical conditions and their treatments affect the body’s chemistry and, as a result, can affect the results of a breath test. If you are taking one of these treatments for such a condition, particularly a respiratory condition, your test could come up positive:

  • Salmeterol: This medication treats chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma.

  • Albuterol/Salbutamol: This medication also treats respiratory conditions like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma.

  • Budesonide: This medication treats allergies, hay fever, asthma, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis.

Ways that Breath Test Results Can Be Challenged in North Carolina

Experienced DWI attorneys are well-versed in the ways that breathalyzer readings can be challenged. In North Carolina, it’s important to note that attorneys are prohibited from challenging breathalyzer readings on a scientific basis.

Instead, the results can be contested by calling these things into question:

  • Was the traffic stop during which you received the test lawful in the first place?

  • Did the law enforcement officer read you the chemical test refusal warning?

  • Was the test properly administered by the officer?

  • Was the breathalyzer well-maintained and in proper working order (i.e. properly calibrated)?

  • What was the time lapse before the test was taken?

The attorney will also bring up other relevant factors (such as your diet and medical conditions) to be considered in your favor.

Whatever the circumstances of your DWI charge, you should always hire an attorney to help you cover all the angles of your case. At The Trevor J. Avery Law Firm Attorneys at law, we treat a DWI as seriously as any other legal matter and provide our clients with experienced legal representation. Contact us 24/7 at 910-405-8459 or online here.
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