If you are ever stopped for drunk driving, you instantly have a lot going through your mind. How much alcohol have I consumed? I thought I waited long enough to drive. Will I be arrested? What will the sobriety test be? Will I fail it? What will the breath test show?

Police testing drivers with breath tests for blood alcohol content (BAC) have become a staple in DUI arrests. For drivers who take the tests and register a .08, they will face DUI charges. However, a recent New York Times investigation showed that breath tests aren’t as reliable as many think they are. In fact, breath tests can show a 50% difference between real, blood-tested BAC and breath test results.

When are breath tests most unreliable?

According to The New York Times report, breath tests are most unreliable in the following circumstances:

  • when the machines haven’t been calibrated properly
  • when the machines haven’t been maintained properly
  • when the breath test was not administered properly
  • when the breath test machine has a software error

Should I take the breath test?

If you are arrested under suspicion for DUI, you can refuse to take the breath test. However, in Pennsylvania, you can lose your driver’s license for up to a year for refusing a breath test or blood test. That’s on top of any DUI charges or penalties you may face.

If you are arrested for DUI and were administered a breath test, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. You will want an attorney who can challenge your breath test results and present your best case to avoid a DUI conviction. DUI convictions come with serious consequences, so it’s always good to consult an attorney about your case.