DUI has been a problem for many states for a long time. Millions of people have been arrested and charged for drunk driving, and the penalties are usually severe. However, most DUI arrests and convictions have one problem in common, which is the use of breathalyzers to determine DUI suspect’s Blood Alcohol Concentration.
There is usually a belief that the amount of alcohol in a person’s blood can determine how impaired they are. A high concentration means that a driver is too impaired to operate a vehicle safely and so, could be a danger to other road users.
Even though breathalyzers have been widely used as the main tools in determining the BAC of drivers suspected to be operating under the influence, they have been met with a lot of criticism on how accurate and reliable they are. Their unreliability could be the reason why we have so many innocent drivers serving time behind bars or facing other penalties related to drunk or drugged driving. Much has been said about the undependability of breathalyzers, which we are willing to share here. Get in touch with a Los Angeles DUI lawyer for more information regarding the use of breathalyzers.
How It All Begins
For many people who get apprehended for DUI, the process is almost the same. It could start at a DUI checkpoint, whereby police officers manning the checkpoint stop cars randomly and arrest those suspected to be operating under the influence. Other motorists are stopped after committing a traffic infraction. If the officer suspects that the driver was operating under the influence, they can arrest them. Again, a driver operating under the influence could be arrested at a scene of an accident. If he/she was involved in an accident, and the police were called, he/she may be arrested if they are suspected of having been driving under the influence.
The police use breathalyzers to obtain a DUI suspect’s breath sample at the point where they are stopped or at a police station. A preliminary test could be conducted at the roadside, but if the driver is unwilling to provide the sample at that time, there is nothing much the police can do. However, if there are other tell-tale signs of intoxication, you will be arrested and taken to a police station, from where you will be required to provide your breath sample for testing. If the results show an alcohol concentration of .08% or more, then it means that you were dangerously operating a vehicle while impaired. You will then be charged in a criminal court for DUI.
The Problem with Breathalyzers
As mentioned above, many states have been using breathalyzers for a long time to determine the BAC level of motorists suspected of operating under the influence. However, there have been several issues reported about their unreliability. Even though these devices can be found in almost all police stations in the country today, they may not be reliable in providing an accurate result that could cause a person to be arrested and charged with DUI. The truth is that these devices generate unreliable results, which should not be used as evidence to convict a person of drunk driving.
It has been reported that there are judges in New Jersey and Massachusetts who have dismissed breath tests totaling to over 30,000 in the past year, mainly for their unreliability. The main problem, in this case, was reported to be negligent on the part of the government oversight as well as human errors in the way the testing was conducted. A quick look in other parts of the country revealed that the same thing has been happening, bringing us to just one question, of just how unreliable breathalyzers are.
There are guidelines in place, which are meant to ensure that test results generated by breathalyzers are reliable. However, these guidelines are usually not followed. The machines should, for instance, be well-calibrated, failure to which they could produce results that are up to 40% higher. They should also be well maintained and only used by properly trained personnel, which is sometimes not what happens in our police stations. In addition to that, technical experts have also reported issues with the machine’s software. All these and many more are problems with breathalyzers that should not be ignored.
Some Breathalyzers’ Results are Unreliable, and You Can Use This in Your Defense
In as much as we want to stop this problem of drunk driving across the country, there is a need to look into issues regarding the use of breathalyzers in generating BAC results for suspected drunk drivers. This is because most breathalyzers’ test results are unreliable. Unfortunately, you might find yourself behind bars if you don’t hire an experienced Los Angeles DUI lawyer to defend you. Therefore, ensure you get reliable defense services if you are arrested for DUI so that your attorney can review the test results and circumstances of the testing, and use any flaws in your defense.