Police in many states often use a breathalyzer machine during a DUI investigation. These portable devices can be conducted roadside and it’s the only type of chemical test that police are legally allowed to administer themselves. Nationwide, you are considered DUI if your blood alcohol content is .08% or higher, and the job of the breathalyzer test is to measure your BAC. However, this is merely an estimate; it is not measuring your blood at all, but rather the air in your lungs. So if you have been charged with DUI for failing a breath test, remember that there is still hope. Just remember that you need an experienced DUI defense attorney on your side!
Why breathalyzer tests are far from 100% accurate
Breathalyzer machines must be used correctly by police and must be calibrated regularly to ensure proper working order. Even then, mistakes can still occur. For instance, the breathalyzer machine is not measuring your blood, rather your breath so it has to assume a ratio to convert this to your BAC. The keyword there is assume. Since each person’s body metabolizes alcohol differently, the 2100:1 ratio is not always accurate from one individual to the next. For example, let’s say your BAC test was .08%, which is just enough to charge you with DUI. In reality, your BAC could have been as low as .65% but the machine’s inaccurate assumption caused you to have a higher reading.
Another problem with the breathalyzer tests are that they can mistake other substances such as acetone (found in higher amounts in diabetics and people with special diets) for ethyl (alcohol). Even chemicals in the air from paint and other pollutants can cause a higher reading on a breathalyzer test.
For these reasons and more, some states don’t allow breath test results from a portable device to be used as evidence in court. Instead, suspects are taken to police stations where larger, more accurate machines may be used to determine a person’s blood alcohol content.
Don’t let your breath test results stop you from seeking the help of an attorney and fighting for your rights!