Surprising Facts about Breathalyzers and Their Impact

by Ieda Vincent on February 25, 2013

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When breathalyzers were first introduced, they were thought to be the answer to the many problems in field sobriety testing. Prior to their use, police officers had to rely on hand-eye coordination testing on the side of the road, the actions of the driver, and possibly the smell of alcohol to determine if someone was too drunk to drive. With the new testing machine, these issues would be eliminated because machines can “only give results” and not make judgment calls.

This thought process of the infallibility of breathalyzer tests was quickly quashed. It did not take long to discover that these tests could easily be wrong. Some issues that have arisen about them include:

• Administration Problems

If the test is not properly administered by the officer, the test cannot give an accurate reading. For example, if the tube is not properly fitted to the machine, an inaccurate reading can occur.

• Accuracy Problems

A recent case that has entered into the Superior Court in Pennsylvania is based on recent findings that 40 percent of all breathalyzer tests are wrong. At this time, Pennsylvania dui lawyers are interested in the fact that their state police have stopped using this test until it is determined valid to be used in Court.

• Medical Problems

A person that has acid reflux disease will show very high alcohol content levels in a breathalyzer test even if they are not considered over the legal limit. There have also been reported cases of people with this condition testing positive on that have not had anything to drink.

These are not the only issues to come to light about this type of field sobriety tests, just a few of the more common problems.

The Need For A DUI/DWI Attorney When You Are Accused

As you can see, there are many reasons to question whether or not the test administered at the DUI/DWI checkpoint was valid. If you have been arrested, it is very crucial that you seek legal representation from a qualified attorney.

• Penalties

Depending on the state in which you live, a conviction could mean an automatic jail sentence, even if it is your first offense. In every state, it will lead to a suspension of your driving privileges and there will be a fine attached to the charge. Some states will also make you complete community service hours for this type of arrest.

• Fines

Additionally, a conviction may carry specific fines from the state or licensing bureau that are separate from the charges passed down from the court. In New Jersey, for example, if you are convicted of a DUI, you must pay the Department of Motor Vehicles a $1,000 per year penalty that they use for substance abuse programs.

• Finances

Finally, a driving under the influence charge will impact the cost of your car insurance, may impact your job, and can even affect your credit in the long run.

In the end, a drinking while driving arrest is a very serious matter, but it does not have to be devastating. A DUI attorney can review any erroneous result a faulty breathalyzer test can display and make sure that your alcohol levels were correctly identified. If there is any question to the validity, the case may be overturned. If they are found legitimate, the attorney may be able to plead to the Court to lessen your punishment.

As a Science teacher, Ieda Vincent instructs others to examine the details and accuracy of test findings. Experience has allowed her to see how faulty devices can influence a positive or negative result. The Law offices of Steven E. Kellis can offer Pennsylvania dui lawyers with a multifaceted understanding of DUI cases.  They will scrutinize all aspects of the data collected during your stop to produce the most favorable outcome.

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