False Breathalyzer Readings
When police suspect that a driver is intoxicated, they will request the driver to take a breath test. Many states use the Intoxilyzer 5000, which is not 100% accurate. While it does have filters to block out other chemical substances that can mimic ethyl (alcohol), the margin of error is still about 0.02. Because of this, many states require the police to administer two breath samples and they are to record the lowest of the two. In every state is it illegal to have a breath test sample of .08% or higher.
How it works
The breathalyzer machine does not actually measure your blood alcohol content. Instead it is taking a measure of the amount of alcohol found on your breath and using an assumptive ratio to convert it to your blood alcohol content. One of the problems associated with this is that each person metabolizes alcohol differently and an assumptive ratio cannot be accurate for every individual.
Other problems with the breathalyzer tests
The breath test machines are very sensitive to outside forces—one of them being temperature. To ensure the breath test result is not affected by temperature, the machine should be adjusted and calibrated accordingly. The body temperature of the person taking the breath test can also affect the machine. The higher a person’s temperature, the higher the BAC can read (by about 7%).
A person’s breathing pattern can also affect their breath test result. For example, if a person is holding their breath, it can result in a higher BAC reading. Police officers must also be trained on the specific machine they used to administer your breath test.
Some breath test machines also detect alcohol found in a person’s mouth and assume that it is coming from air deep in the lungs. The problem with this is that it could be detecting alcohol found in mints, cough syrup and a number of other things besides ethyl alcohol.
There are many other weaknesses associated with the breath test machines that can be used as a defense to your DUI. And your DUI attorney can expose such weaknesses.