Do your breath test results mean you are guilty of DUI?

In Iowa, you have the right to refuse a blood alcohol test, but if you do, you will lose your license for a year and will be ineligible for a temporary license for at least 90 days. It is also used against you in court.

To avoid those consequences, you can decide to take the test. Be aware that the devices used to measure blood alcohol levels are not always calibrated correctly and can lead to a false arrest for DUI. Here is what you need to know about the reliability of breath tests.

Blood alcohol results are under investigation nationwide

Breath test devices are precise scientific instruments left to untrained police officers to calibrate. Over 36,000 Massachusetts residents had DUIs overturned in 2019 because of miscalibrated devices. An investigation by The New York Times found results were often overcalculated by up to 40%.

Breath tests in Iowa are not reliable

DataMaster DMT or CDM, made by Intoximeter, are the two machines approved for use in Iowa. Forensic criminalist, Jan Semenoff, conducted a data review of the devices. He indicated that the DMT may be measuring alcohol before it hits the bloodstream, causing inflated numbers. He concluded that “people are being convicted on bad evidence.”

There are also fraud allegations in Minnesota against the employees who recalibrate and certify the DataMaster instruments. Judges required Intoximeter to turn over data to experts looking for more flaws in the machines.

The questionable nature of breath test results means you should not give up hope after a DUI arrest.