Assessing the accuracy of breathalyzer devices

To most in Florence and throughout the rest of the U.S., the breathalyzer has come to be the symbol for law enforcement’s commitment to avoid the dangers posed by drunk drivers. Like those who have come to us here at the Parham Law Firm, LLC after a drunk driving arrest, you likely understand a .08 percent blood alcohol content reading as being the almost universally accepted standard for determining whether you are too impaired to drive. Yet how much confidence should be placed on such a measurement if it was attained using a breathalyzer device?

Given all that potentially rides on you being convicted of driving under the influence (e.g., a felony or misdemeanor conviction, the suspension of your license), you likely would want to know how accurate the readings produced by the equipment condemning you truly are. Information shared by the National Motorists Association shows that breathalyzer results often have up to a 50 percent margin for error. Thus, if your breathalyzer reading shows you to have a BAC of .08 percent, these research findings show that in actuality, your BAC could be as low as .03.

It is for this reason that a confirmatory blood test is often required after you have been arrested for DUI. Those results, which provide a much more accurate measurement, should be the basis of any charges filed against you. If, for example, you register a .1 BAC reading from a breathalyzer after being stopped on the road, yet a subsequent blood test performed an hour later shows you to have a BAC of .04, you may cite the fact that the body typically cannot metabolize alcohol that quickly when challenging the results of the breathalyzer reading.

You can find more information about defending yourself against DUI charges here on our site. 

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