When a police officer pulls you over, it can be a dreaded ending to an otherwise enjoyable evening. You may not have felt as if you had much to worry about because you were not speeding, did not have your phone in your hand and did not consume much alcohol, if any, while out with friends. Still, seeing those flashing blue lights can cause an increased heart rate in anyone.
When the officer approached your vehicle, you remained polite, provided your driver’s license and any other requested documentation, and tried to do your best to get out of there quickly. Unfortunately, the officer seemed to suspect that something else was going on. Maybe he or she smelled alcohol or thought your eyes looked bloodshot. Whatever the case, the officer asked you to step out of the vehicle.
Looking for probable cause
Before an officer can arrest a person for drinking and driving, or any other crime, probable cause for the arrest must exist. As a result, if an officer suspected that you may have consumed alcohol before getting behind the wheel, he or she may have asked you for a breath sample to measure your blood alcohol concentration level. Under New Jersey implied consent law, you would have faced immediate consequences if you refused the test.
Of course, you did not think you had anything to worry about, so the idea of refusing the test may not have crossed your mind. However, you may have felt shocked when the officer informed you that the Breathalyzer indicated your BAC as over the legal limit.
How could this happen?
You may have had one drink hours before the incident or not even have consumed alcohol at all, so these results undoubtedly shocked you. Unfortunately, you are not alone in facing incorrect breath test results that lead to an arrest. In fact, the following factors could easily affect the readings of a breath test machine:
- Acetone and other substances the machine falsely reads as alcohol
- Temperature and other environmental factors
- Cell volume of blood
- Calibration of the machine
Breath test results are notoriously unreliable, and while the results may not hold up as evidence in court, you still ended up under arrest for DUI. Fortunately, you can work with your legal counsel to defend against the allegations and undermine the case by questioning the results of the breath test and determining whether the officer had other probable cause to arrest you.