DUI BREATHALYZER TEST:
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT DUI BREATH TESTS
Usually after a police officer has administered a few field sobriety tests, a police officer who is not convinced of your sobriety will pull out a small portable breathalyzer! This breathalyzer is known as a PAS test, or preliminary alcohol screening test. The officer will typically have you blow more than once so that he has at least two readings. It’s not uncommon for the two readings to be different. That just shows how random these things can be and how there is a margin of error even between two samples taken just seconds apart.
The PAS test is not the same breathalyzer that is used at the station that is given after you are arrested. The ‘big’ breathalyzer at the police station (or that is set up at some DUI checkpoints) is more accurate. What you may not know is that the PAS test which is administered at the side of the road is OPTIONAL! YOU DON’T HAVE TO TAKE IT IF YOU ARE OVER 21! It’s the breathalyzer or blood test that is administered AFTER you are arrested and taken back to the station that is not optional.
Back at the station you must submit to either a breath test or blood test or face serious legal consequences. Refusal to take such a test, called a chemical test (either breathalyzer or blood), after you are arrested will most likely result in one year’s driver’s license suspension and enhanced penalties if you are untimely convicted of a DUI. The breathalyzer test after you are arrested is called an ‘evidentiary’ breath test.
It is no secret that a breathalyzer can produce a false reading. If your DUI case ends up in trial, certainly our lawyers will be poking holes in the validity of whatever evidence that is produced by a breathalyzer. This is because there are all sorts of ways a breathalyzer can be faulty and all sorts of ways that a breathalyzer can produce inaccurate results. Breath test results showing .08% BAC or just barely over the legal limit might not be accurate. Some common reasons include: failure to calibrate the machine regularly (every 10 days), an improperly trained operator as per Title 17 of the California Code of Regulations, eating gum, mints, or lozengers before taking the test (Fisherman’s Friend is a lozenger said to give false positives), acid reflux, being diabetic or on a high protein diet may cause inaccurate results.
In some states like Pennsylvania, they don’t even use breathalyzers anymore because it is well known that blood tests are the most accurate tests when determining blood alcohol content, or BAC.
If you are charged with a DUI, you need legal counsel who understands the shortcomings of this equipment and will fight for you. Our lawyers understand the shortcomings of the evidence produced by breathalyzers and will use this knowledge and experience to prevent charges from being filed, to get your case dismissed, to convince a jury of your innocence at trial, or in negotiating a favorable settlement such as agreeing to a lesser offense like ‘wet reckless’ or ‘exhibition of speed’ rather than a DUI.
If you received a DUI, or notice of a DUI DMV hearing, you need quick resolution. To learn more about our firm please call: