Breathalyzer Calibration

The term “calibration” refers to tests that are performed by breath test coordinators of the New Jersey State Police to confirm that the machine is operating in proper order. It is important to point out that since there are only a limited number of coordinators statewide and calibration can be a time consuming process, the timeliness of calibrations can often be pushed to the limit. With this in mind, it is important that all calibration certificates and related information are not only steadfastly demanded from the prosecutor, but thoroughly reviewed when received by defense counsel. Ironically, you would be surprised just how frequently this does not occur although lack of calibration is powerful means for a DWI lawyer to invalidate breathalyzer readings. The attorney on our defense team are diligent in exploring all possible avenues to suppress BAC readings including calibration issues. Give us a call at 877-450-8301 for immediate assistance.

How Often Must the Alcotest Be Calibrated?

In accordance with the Supreme Court decision in State v. Chun, calibration of every Alcotest Breathalyzer must be conducted twice a year (i.e. semi-annually).

How Do They Calibrate the Breath Test?

To calibrate the device, a probe is inserted into the machine. Solutions are then introduced into the Alcotest that contain ethyl alcohol concentrations at specific levels (i.e. .04%, .08% and .16%). If the BAC readings registered on the machine are within an acceptable approximation of the specified solution level, then the breathalyzer is properly calibrated. If the BAC results are outside the acceptable range, the device is out of calibration and must be fixed and/or adjusted.

What Is An Acceptable Range of Tolerance?

As stated, the calibration results do not have to be exactly in line with the level of ethyl alcohol contained in the calibration solution. The machine is in proper working order if the calibration results are within .05% of the specified solution level.

How Are the Calibration Results Recorded?

The results of the calibration tests and all internal data are downloaded onto disks. One copy of the disk is maintained by the breath test coordinator and/or state police and another copy is provided to the local police department.

If you would like to speak to a lawyer regarding calibration, please do not hesitate to contact us. An attorney will be happy to speak to you free of charge at 877-450-8301.