Breathalyzer test results used in West Virginia may not be accurate. A report from the New York Times found that roughly 30,000 cases were thrown out in New Jersey and Massachusetts over a period of 12 months. Human error is one reason why Breathalyzer results may be incorrect, but the machine itself could simply be defective at the time a test is administered. One police department tried to correct for low results by drilling a hole in their device.
Human error could result in a machine that is not properly calibrated or is not properly maintained. If it is not properly programmed, it may be difficult or impossible to get accurate results. A result could also be skewed simply because a driver had a breath mint prior to submitting to a Breathalyzer test. As machines get older, they may be less reliable regardless of how well they are calibrated, programmed and maintained.
Inaccurate test results can be problematic for two reasons. First, they may result in drivers who have not broken the law being taken into custody based on an inflated reading. Second, courts may be less likely to convict drivers based on what their blood alcohol content alone. Therefore, individuals who may have been impaired while behind the wheel could escape punishment for violating the law.
A conviction on a misdemeanor or felony drunk driving conviction could have long-term consequences. Those consequences may include higher auto insurance rates as well as a limited employment and housing opportunities. Therefore, it may be a good idea to meet with an attorney who may be able to help a driver obtain a favorable outcome in a case. Casting doubt on Breathalyzer test results and other evidence may result in a charge being reduced or dropped altogether.