Failing the Roadside Breath Test
Answer: First and foremost, any roadside breath test administered in Alabama is not admissible against you in court; however, police officers will still use the results of these tests to develop what’s called probable cause to arrest you. Potential errors or potential problems with this test are that the devices do not have any type of mouth alcohol or what we call a slope detector, meaning that there are many, many false positives on these devices. Interference, mouth alcohol issues, medical conditions such as GERD or heartburn can all create false positives on this test. As well, for the device to be even remotely accurate, the instructions say that there must be a minimum of a 20-minute deprivation period. Very, very rarely on the roadside does an officer wait 20 minutes before administering this test. Therefore, it does give us very fertile ground to defend the case and challenge the probable cause if the officer relies upon such a flawed device in making his arrest decision.