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New Hampshire Breath Test Defenses

The legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit for drivers over 21 is .08% in New Hampshire. If you test over this limit, you can be charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI). To determine your BAC, the officer may ask you to submit to a breathalyzer test; however, these tests are not always accurate. In fact, there are several possible breath test defenses that can be used to challenge your BAC reading.

New Hampshire law enforcement agencies typically use two forms of breathalyzer tests during the course of a drunk-driving arrest. The first is the preliminary breath test, which is a small, hand-held device used to establish probable cause to believe you are over the legal limit. This machine runs on batteries, and your results could be affected if the battery power is running low.

The second breathalyzer test is typically administered at the police station. Known as the evidentiary breath test, the reading from this unit can be used against you in criminal court. Under ideal circumstances, this test is accurate; however, there are a number of errors that could cause a false BAC reading. For example, the officer must properly administer the test and the machine must be calibrated and maintained correctly in order to avoid incorrect results.

Breathalyzer machines also have difficulty distinguishing mouth alcohol from deep lung air. This means that if you have dental work or a piece of food trapped in your teeth that soaked up alcohol, your BAC could register much higher than it truly is. Certain medical conditions, such as diabetes or hypoglycemia, can produce acetone, which has compounds similar to alcoholic beverages.