Drunk driving is the primary cause of vehicular accidents. It affects the human society every single day. Many individuals are killed by drivers who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Not only negligent drivers put own lives at risk, but they also pose a danger to the lives of innocent bystanders who share the road with them.
If police pull you over for suspicion of driving under the influence, they will test you for alcohol and drugs. The purpose of these tests is initial screening. For concrete results, it is necessary to check and analyze blood and urine sample.
The most common method of alcohol testing is a Breathalyzer. It is portable and can provide results immediately. A driver needs to blow a breath sample into this device, and it will measure the alcohol content in a person’s breath as a way to determine the overall blood alcohol and intoxication level.
Besides subjecting you to a Breathalyzer, a police officer can use other methods. For example, he might ask you to walk a straight line or to follow his fingers with your eyes. These methods can also determine whether you are under the influence or not. However, they don’t provide incontrovertible proof.
If you blow into a Breathalyzer and receive a reading below the legal limit of .08%, a police officer won’t consider you under the influence. You won’t be accused of breaking the law. However, if your result is above this limit, you will be regarded as drunk, and might face severe penalties. Some of the consequences of driving under the influence of alcohol include spending time in jail, community service, and paying high fines.
How does a Breathalyzer work?
Its purpose is to measure the alcohol level in a driver’s breath. To do so, it uses fuel cell technology and infrared spectrometry. Models that fall into the first category are used for preliminary testing at the scene when a police officer pulls you over for suspicion of DUI. Models with infrared spectrometry are meant for evidential breath testing. They differ from one another regarding the way they work. Fuel cell technology works by turning alcohol into an electric current. On the other hand, infrared spectrometry measures the wavelength of ethyl alcohol, the substance contained in alcoholic beverages.
The possibility of false reading
A Breathalyzer is just a machine, and sometimes, the results are not 100% accurate. The problem is, this device doesn’t identify just the ethyl alcohol in alcoholic beverages, but also other substances with the similar molecular structure.
Factors that could cause a false positive reading include a driver’s diet, air humidity, prescription medications, and body temperature. Occupational substances can also have an influence on false results. For example, if you are working close to cleaning products every day, you will inhale them. When you blow into a Breathalyzer, it can register this as if you were drinking. Also, people with diabetes sometimes have elevated acetone levels, which can be falsely identified as ethyl alcohol. Just because your result was positive, it doesn’t mean you will be immediately charged with DUI.
Additionally, if the police officer didn’t properly maintain the equipment, it can malfunction and give false readings. If they pull you over under the suspicion of DUI, and subject to a Breathalyzer, you should hire a lawyer as soon as possible. If you are innocent, your criminal defense attorney will examine the details of your case, and build a solid defense against the charges.