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Home > Blog > OUI/DUI/DWI > Breath Tests: Are They Accurate?
Dec 10, 2019

Breath Tests: Are They Accurate?

Challenging the Evidence Against You

When a law enforcement officer suspects that a driver is under the influence of alcohol, they may ask them to submit to a Intoxilyzer device. This is optional; however, there are certain penalties you could be subject to for your refusal. After breathing into the Intoxilyzer device, a reading will be given. If this reading is above 0.08%, the police officer will have the right to charge you with drunk driving and bring you to the county jail.

How does a breath test work? The Intoxilyzer device measures alcohol through infrared spectrometry. As you breathe into the mouthpiece, a beam of infrared light is being emitted in the sample chamber. On the far side of the sample chamber is a detector that measures the level of infrared received from the light source. As alcohol enters the chamber, the alcohol tends to “soak up” infrared light. Thus, the amount being detected at the far end of the chamber is less than what is being emitted from the light source. This allows the machine to calculate your breath alcohol content.

The entire process is complex and if the device is in any way contaminated or calibrated wrong, the reading it produces could be completely off. Other variants which could cause it to produce an inaccurate reading is the person’s own physiology or the environment in which the test took place. In regards to physiological factors, if the driver suffered from heartburn, GERD, or acid reflux, the device could assume that it is mouth alcohol. Also, the diet of the individual could also have an effect on the reading.

If you have questions about the breath test and believe that you were falsely accused, please get in touch with our team of professionals. We can investigate the evidence against you and seek to find any errors which could have been made during the process.

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