What is a breathalyzer?
Breathalyzer tests have become a standard way that officers measure the blood-alcohol level of a suspect. While the traditional tests are still used alongside a breathalyzer, the breathalyzer results are going to be one of the strongest pieces of evidence against you when evaluating your DUI case. Let’s start covering how you can possibly fight this by exploring how these results are even determined.
A breathlyzer’s goal is to determine the amount of alcohol in your blood stream. For obvious reasons, it is impractical to draw and test blood at a traffic stop, which would give the most direct results. However, breathalyzer technology actually measures the concentration of alcohol in the alveolar air and uses this figure to determine the concentration in a suspect’s blood stream. As the alcohol you’ve consumed passes through the lungs, some is evaporated into the air sacs (alveoli) and this is referred to as alveolar air, and has a direct correlation with the blood-alcohol level.
How does a breathalyzer work?
There are 3 main types of breathalyzers that are used, and each will measure the amount of alcohol present in different ways. There is the standard breathalyzer, the intoxilyzer, and the alcosensor. The breathalyzer and alcosensor rely on chemical reactions to make a determination, whereas the intoxylizer uses infrared light. Most areas in Florida will use the intoxylizer to administer breathalyzer tests. Generally speaking, all three are accepted as standard breathalyzer devices and are recognized as reliable. However, the smaller devices that are used at traffic stops need to be calibrated and administered in certain ways, and often times courts will reject these occurrences as evidence. Instead, because of the multiple ways an officer can incorrectly administer a test at a traffic stop, a more reliable breathalyzer is often used at the jail, and the results of this are thought to be far more trustworthy when determining a conviction.
Can you beat DUI if your breathalyzer test showed elevated alcohol levels?
There are ways to invalidate a DUI offense that most people haven’t considered. Was there a legal reason the officer stopped you? Did the testing procedure follow Federal guidelines? Do you have a medical condition that might cause a false reading? Was the breathalyzer equipment used functioning properly? Was the test analyzed properly? Cases have been overturned through exposing errors in record keeping or the computer programs which run breathalyzer tests. Cultivating this kind of defense can be tricky and confusing for many people, so we always recommend discussing your case with a certified attorney. A skilled defense attorney might even subpoena the maintenance & calibration records of the device used, if applicable to your unique situation.