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How can you contest a blood alcohol test?

Breathalyzer tests are commonly used to test a driver's level of impairment from alcohol. However, the breathalyzer has often been criticised for its unreliable results.

In addition to breath tests, Alberta law enforcement may also employ blood alcohol tests if they suspect you of drunk driving. This test involves a lab technician drawing a blood sample, which they test for alcohol. While law enforcement praises the test for its accuracy, is it unbeatable in court?

Are blood alcohol tests infallible?

The short answer is no. There is no test that does not have a potential element of human error. Though blood alcohol tests are more accurate than breath tests, they are not without their faults. For example, consider an understaffed lab with tired workers. Some may be prone to making mistakes by the time they get to your sample. They could mix the sample up with someone else's. The machine used to read the BAC levels may even be incorrectly calibrated.

Your health and diet can impact the reading as well, which is not often taken into consideration. Conditions that have been shown to have an impact on breathalyzer results include:

  • Cough or cold medications
  • Diabetes
  • High ketone levels

Finally, consider the way alcohol moves through your body. It takes time to spread from the stomach and liver into the blood stream. You may be under the legal limit while driving, but over the limit by the time you get to the police station and your blood gets drawn.

Impaired driving is a serious offence in Alberta. Part of building a strong defence involves effectively challenging the evidence the prosecution presents. Accomplishing this can make all the difference in your case's outcome.

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