How accurate breathalyzer machines are in determining whether a driver is legally impaired is a subject that is widely debated. Since states across the country began using them welcome before the 1940’s, DUI Lawyers from across the United States have weighed in on accuracy and efficiency of breath test results.
One of the main reasons for the hot debate is the fact that so many factors can affect the results of a breathalyzer test. A non-exhaustive list of some of these factors that sparked this debate includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- Cigarette smoking
- Acid reflux
- Eating too much bread
- Breathing pattern or hyperventilation
Simply put, using a standard breath test to determine whether a driver is impaired is not the most reliable method in evaluating the amount of alcohol in an individual’s body at a certain time. One of the main reasons is that it does not measure any other outside factor, such as medications or other legal and illegal substances that could lead to a higher breath test, such as cold medicine, illegal drugs or another prescribed medication. A Miami DUI Attorney can help you determine whether your breath test results are correct.
The large amount of reliability questions has led some states to try to counteract the error rates. In a few states, state troopers or officers will use hand-held screening devices that test for alcohol levels and give the officer the initial cause to arrest a driver on suspicion of drunk driving. Drivers in Florida, however, do not have to worry about law enforcement officers carrying handheld breath alcohol screening devices, as Florida has not adopted this policy.
Another alternate measure to breath testing is urine testing. This is used quite often by officers or state troopers when they have reason to believe that a driver is impaired or driving influenced by alcohol or drugs. A urinalysis has the ability to test for common illegal drugs, such as marijuana, and other prescription pills, like Xanax. However, since a urinalysis cannot actually determine the “amount” of a substance in an individual’s system, their reliability is also questionable. Though, urinalysis may still be requested if a driver seems impaired but has a low breath test result to see if there are other types of influences in a driver’s system.
Some states go so far as using blood testing to determine the level of intoxication. While blood testing does have some delays to it, the reliability is generally higher. Blood testing can help paint a more accurate picture of the level of intoxication in a person’s system due to the fact that it can measure the level or dosage of medications and other substances.
The law in the State of Florida provides that by operating a vehicle in the state you have consented to submit to alcohol or substance testing. While the refusal to submit to breath testing is not a crime in and of itself, there are certain administrative penalties such as loss of a driver’s license that will result by the denial.
An experience Miami DUI Attorney from Musca Law can help you determine your pending DUI charge and answer any questions you may have about your breathalyzer results.