People who fail a breath test in Georgia often believe the Breathalyzer never lies. Nothing could be further from the truth. Breath tests are notoriously inaccurate. Blood tests have a higher degree of accuracy in gauging blood/alcohol concentration (BAC) but they are not foolproof. Police make DUI mistakes in Georgia and defendants pay the price.

One of the biggest mistakes you can make after a DUI charge is to admit your guilt to get the process over with fast. We know DUIs are stressful and can ruin your life and your career. It’s understandable to want to put this trauma behind you. However, not fighting a charge is seldom the right course. It’s unlikely to help you get on with your life. Defendants who admit their guilt may ignore police errors and improper procedures that could clear them.

DUI mistakes in Georgia often relate to how police perform the breath test itself.

When a police officer or a state trooper suspects a driver of drunk driving, he or she will usually perform a breath test. The test measures your blood/alcohol level (BAC). In Georgia, you will be charged with DUI if your BAC is 0.08 percent or above. This is the standard across the United States. The federal government pressurized states to accept this limit or to lose federal funds.

Drivers under the age of 21 face a DUI charge if their BAC is as low as of 0.02 because it is illegal to drink alcohol under 21.

Alcohol enters the bloodstream quickly. The alcohol is exhaled on the drivers’ breath. Police officers use this reading to make a case against you.

Unfortunately, Breathalyzer tests can be inaccurate. The breath test measures a ‘deep lung’ air sample. When the driver blows into the machine’s mouthpiece, the breath starts a chemical reaction that measures BAC.

Common DUI Mistakes in Georgia

Defense lawyers often challenge the accuracy of Breathalyzer readings. Like any other machine, the Breathalyzer may not function properly because of human or machine errors.

In some cases, software glitches occur on Breathalyzers that produce a false reading. Often police departments fail to calibrate their machines properly meaning they will give inaccurate readings. They may fail to supply working batteries or do not store the machines in correct conditions.

Some Breathalyzers are simply faulty. We have seen considerable evidence of defective and unreliable breath machines marketed by companies.

On other occasions, police officers make mistakes by failing to conduct tests correctly. Even a properly calibrated Breathalyzer with no defects can give an incorrect reading if police fail to carry out correct procedures.

Police officers must be adequately trained to use and interpret the results from Breathalyzer readings.  However, untrained or poorly trained officers may end up carrying out roadside breath tests.

Police must also monitor and observe a DUI suspect for a 15-minute interval to make sure he or she does not smoke, drink anything, regurgitate or belch. The test should be restarted if this happens. However, police officers are often in stressful situations and fail to follow the rules.

Some medical conditions can skew a breath test reading. They include GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). If you suffer from GERD, acid can rise into your esophagus and mouth giving a false positive reading.

Other products like mouthwash that contains alcohol, food trapped in teeth, and even dentures can influence a breath test.

Field sobriety tests are notoriously inaccurate. However, they can be used to help make a case against suspects.


If a police officer charges you with DUI, you should contact a Newnan-based lawyer as soon as possible. Call the Law Office of Michael West at (404) 913-1529.