Breathalyzer Tests in DUI Cases: Debunking Myths & Answering Common Questions
You are here: DUI > Breathalyzer Tests
Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious offense that can lead to severe penalties, including jail time. To help determine if someone has been drinking and driving, law enforcement officers will often administer a breathalyzer test.
Breathalyzers are instruments used to measure alcohol levels in the bloodstream through one’s breath. In this article, we’ll discuss what exactly breathalyzer tests are and how accurate they are at detecting alcohol levels in the blood. We’ll also debunk common myths about these tests and answer commonly asked questions about them such as what happens when you refuse a breathalyzer test or challenge its results? Finally, we’ll provide advice on what to do if you’re arrested for DUI after taking a breathalyzer test.
What Are Breathalyzers
Breathalyzers are instruments used to measure the amount of alcohol in one’s bloodstream. These tests work by collecting a sample of breath from the person being tested and then measuring its alcohol content. The results of the test will indicate whether or not the person has been drinking, and if so, how much alcohol is present in their system.
Breathalyzers provide police and courts with a way to measure blood-alcohol content (BAC). Not only do they protect people from driving while intoxicated but also provide a swift resolution to complex legal issues.
In the past, BAC evidence was obtained through other means such as a blood test; however, this was an invasive and time-consuming process. Breathalyzers revolutionized DUI enforcement by making testing easier and more portable. They provide law enforcement with an efficient way of determining whether or not someone is over the legal limit without having to resort to intrusive measures.
How Accurate Are Breathalyzer Tests
Despite breath testing technology coming a long way since its invention, breathalyzers aren’t always accurate. Factors such as improper calibration, user error, and use of faulty equipment can produce false results.
According to a peer-reviewed study, breathalyzer tests have a 50% margin of error rate in determining a person’s blood alcohol concentration.
The reasoning for this is simple: breathalyzers test the alcohol in your breath, not what’s in your blood, which is what determines your BAC and what is “illegal.” Because of this, the results of a breathalyzer test may not always be accurate.
The best and most accurate way to accurately test a person’s BAC is by doing a blood test.
Common Misconceptions About Breathalyzers Tests in DUI Cases
There are several common misconceptions about breathalyzer tests used for DUI cases. Many people believe that these tests are infallible and that if you fail one, you are automatically convicted of DUI. However, this is not the case.
Breathalyzer tests can be challenged in court with valid evidence that they may not have been reliable due to user or equipment error. This is one of the most common DUI defenses any knowledgeable DUI attorney will be using.
It’s also important to note that you cannot be charged with a DUI if your BAC results did not exceed the legal limit.
Breathalyzers can also give false readings even if someone has not consumed alcohol. This is especially true for people who have diabetes, use mouthwash, or eat certain types of food.
What Does a Positive Result Mean?
A positive result from a breathalyzer test means that the person tested had a BAC higher than the legal limit. In Nevada, this is anything over 0.08 percent for most adults. There are different limits for minors and commercial drivers.
If you have been charged with DUI after taking a breathalyzer test, it is important to contact an experienced attorney right away.
A positive result from a breathalyzer test does not guarantee a conviction. It is possible to challenge the results in court with valid evidence that the test was flawed or unreliable due to user error or faulty equipment.
Can I Challenge the Results of a Breathalyzer Test?
Yes, you can challenge the results of a breathalyzer test in court. In order to do so, you will need to provide valid evidence that the results were inaccurate due to user or equipment error. If successful, your case may be dismissed or receive reduced penalties
Another way to challenge these test results is if the officer didn’t follow proper protocol or misconduct occurred. For example, they didn’t have probable cause to do the test in the first place.
It is essential that you consult with an experienced attorney to review the specifics of your case and determine the best course of action.
What Are the Penalties for Refusing to Take a Breathalyzer Test
Nevada drivers must take a preliminary breath test (PBT) when the police first believe they are driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This is stated in Nevada’s implied consent law.
Refusing DUI tests such as the PBT comes with serious consequences:
- The officer can (and will probably) arrest you
- Confiscation of driver’s license
- This refusal can be used by prosecutors as evidence in court proceedings.
Note, however, that the police cannot force you to take this test against your will.
Once you have been arrested, the police can obtain a warrant and, once granted, they can reasonably force you to take a blood or urine test.
What to Do If You’re Arrested for a DUI
If you are arrested for a DUI, the most important thing to do is contact an experienced DUI lawyer as soon as possible. A skilled DUI attorney can help protect your rights and provide guidance and advice throughout the legal process.
An attorney can also review your case, challenge any evidence or results from breathalyzers or testimony presented by the prosecution, and work to achieve a favorable outcome.
The Defenders has been representing DUI clients in Las Vegas and Nevada for many years and has the experience, expertise, and resources to help you fight your DUI charge.
We understand that this is a difficult situation, and we are here to help. Our goal is to provide you with the best legal representation possible so that are committed to providing aggressive and knowledgeable legal representation for those who have been charged with DUI.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a breathalyzer test?
A breathalyzer test is a device law enforcement officers use to measure the amount of alcohol in an individual’s blood.
What does a positive result on a breathalyzer test mean?
A positive result from a breathalyzer test means that the person tested had a BAC higher than the legal limit. In Nevada, this is anything over 0.08 percent for most adults.
Can I challenge the results of a breathalyzer test?
Yes, you can challenge the results of a breathalyzer test in court. In order to do so, you will need to provide valid evidence that the results were inaccurate due to user or equipment error. If successful,
What happens if I refuse to take a breathalyzer test?
Refusing to take a preliminary breath test (PBT) in Nevada comes with serious consequences. The police may arrest you, confiscate your driver’s license and use your refusal as evidence in court proceedings.
What should I do if I am arrested for a DUI?
If you are arrested for a DUI, the most important thing to do is contact an experienced DUI lawyer as soon as possible. A skilled DUI attorney can help protect your rights and provide guidance and advice throughout the legal process. They can also review your case, challenge any evidence or results from breathalyzers or testimony presented by the prosecution, and work to achieve a favorable outcome.