Contrary to popular belief, a DUI conviction is not automatic if you fail a breath alcohol test. In fact, you should consider challenging the breath alcohol machine results.

A recent New York Times investigation found that the machines are far from infallible. The humans who operate them often make mistakes, too, according to the report.

Do not trust a breath alcohol machine

The newspaper found that many machines used by police are unreliable. Some machines, when tested, posted blood alcohol results as much as 40 times too high.

A few examples from around the country:

  • A Pennsylvania judge called the reliability of the machines “extremely questionable.”
  • A panel of Florida judges said the machines produced “significant and continued anomalies.”
  • A Vermont state lab uncovered inaccurate results on “almost every test.”
  • A Massachusetts court threw out the results from 29,000 tests used to convict drivers.
  • Faulty machines helped convict more than 13,000 drivers in New Jersey.

Do not trust humans who operate breath alcohol machines

In many cases, the machines are not kept in good working condition because law enforcement personnel lack either the expertise or the willingness to do so. Some officers in Massachusetts, for instance, relied on a machine that was home to rats nesting inside.

Some agencies have disabled the device’s safeguards for accuracy or quality control. In other cases, they used expired testing chemicals or even faked calibration reports.

The unfortunate fact is, some officers are so anxious to make DUI arrests and record convictions that they bend the law. For example, they may not have had a good reason to stop you, which also leaves your case open to challenge.

Trust your ability to defeat a breath alcohol machine

A DUI conviction carries severe penalties in Texas. A first-time offender faces possible fines, jail time and the loss of his or her license.

You can keep your driving record clean by making a persuasive argument in court. The evidence against you is not always as solid as it seems.