It is not uncommon to hear about DUI issues on the news, reported in newspapers, or seen online. As a result most of us have become aware of what a breathalyzer test is and how it is used, in most instances during DUI traffic stops, to test the blood alcohol content (BAC) of the suspected drunk driver. While you may have been lead to believe that breathalyzer tests are 100% accurate, the truth of the matter is that they are not. While the breathalyzer test is commonly used in field sobriety tests, the test is not perfect, so it is important to keep these facts in mind:
Breathalyzer tests are not always perfectly accurate
Breathalyzer tests are not perfect and a lot of variables can contribute to inaccurate test results. The breathalyzer test is a device that requires maintenance and calibration to help ensure its accuracy. If the device is not properly calibrated or maintained it could lead to a faulty test result. An experienced DUI attorney could request the maintenance records of the breathalyzer used during the DUI arrest to determine if it was properly maintained and calibrated at the time the test was given.
Not all alcohol consumption is equal when it comes to a DUI
You may have experienced this scenario before where you assume that if you limit yourself to only a couple of drinks that you will be fine to drive and be within the legal limit. However, this is not a good way of determining whether you are sober enough to safely operate a vehicle. Keep in mind that numerous factors can influence blood alcohol levels. For example, if you are a large adult male who has had a couple of drinks your test results would likely differ significantly compared to a female who was much smaller in size. As mentioned, multiple factors can contribute to BAC levels, including:
- How much food you have consumed prior to, or while drinking.
- How much time has passed while consuming alcohol. For example, if the drinks were taken in rapid succession or spread out over several hours.
- Personal health issues.
- Taking medication.
You have rights
You might be wondering why you are asked to take a breathalyzer test in the first place. In California we have what is called “implied consent” law meaning that if you are lawfully arrested by an officer who has probable cause to believe that you have been driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, then you consent to taking a chemical test of your blood, breath, or urine in order to determine your BAC level.
If you are stopped for suspicion of driving under the influence it is important to remember that you have rights. It is perfectly understandable to be nervous and unsure of what to do if you are ever caught in that situation but knowing your rights can help you be better prepared. For starters, you can refuse to take the breathalyzer test. Now, with that said, it is important to understand that refusing to take a breathalyzer test does not go unpunished. If you choose to refuse a breathalyzer test it may result in an automatic license suspension through the DMV.
In addition to the license suspension you may also be fined and you could possibly be sent to jail if you are later convicted of a DUI. It is important to also understand that refusing a breathalyzer test may not always work in your favor. In fact, if your case goes to trial the prosecutor may use your refusal against you by arguing that you refused the test because you knew that you were intoxicated and would be found guilty of DUI.
Breathalyzer test results can be challenged
If your case goes to trial you may be able to challenge the results of your breathalyzer test. An experienced DUI attorney can often challenge breathalyzer test results, depending on the circumstances of your case. Some factors considered include:
- Skill and experience of the tester
- Quality of the equipment used
- Officer lacked breathalyzer training
- Breathalyzer not calibrated
- Breathalyzer not properly maintained
- Test not properly administered
Don’t believe the “tricks”
There are no tricks to beating a breathalyzer test, despite what you may have heard. There is a lot of misinformation out there on how people supposedly beat the test, and it is not true. The best thing to do is to have never put yourself in that position in the first place, drunk driving is dangerous and could result in serious consequences. However, people make mistakes, and if you find yourself in a position where you have made a mistake you may feel that the evidence against you is too strong to overcome. However, an experienced DUI defense attorney can examine the details of your case and determine if evidence can be challenged in the case against you.
If you or a loved one are facing DUI charges it is important to speak to an attorney right away. The Law Office of Gregory W. Fox offers free initial consultations with no obligation. If you have any questions, please contact us at (559) 222-5800 today.