If a breathalyzer gives an improper reading, it may help your Drunk Driving defense. It may even convince a judge to throw away your entire OUI case. Below are 4 common causes for improper OUI readings:
Belching, Hiccupping or Vomiting Before Your Test
If you belch, hiccup, or vomit before a breathalyzer test, then you may register a higher alcohol reading than is accurate. Law enforcement officers are required to constantly observe a OUI suspect to make sure this does not happen. If you do any of these things then you should not be tested for at least 15 minutes.
Your rate of metabolism may adversely affect a breathalyzer reading. If your metabolism is slow, then your body may take longer to absorb alcohol, and therefore, your reading may appear higher than the actual amount of alcohol in your blood stream.
Residual Alcohol in Your Mouth
One of the most common problems with breathalyzer readings is residual alcohol in the mouth. This is because you may have traces of alcohol in your mouth, or absorbed in some food between your teeth. Whatever the cause, residual alcohol in your mouth will result in a higher measurement of blood alcohol content.
One of the biggest problems for any breathalyzer machine is how to deal with mouth alcohol. Unfortunately, rather than address this problem, breathalyzer manufacturers ignore it in favor of faulty readings.
The biggest problem with mouth alcohol is that the concentration of alcohol in the mouth is much higher than it is in the lungs. As any air expelled from the lungs into a breathalyzer passes through the mouth, it picks up alcohol particles while there. The breathalyzer doesn’t register this increase since it has nothing with which to compare the reading and so interprets the concentration of alcohol in the mouth as though it were coming from the lungs.
If the air were coming from the lungs and not passing through any other area that might have alcohol particles in it, the amount of alcohol in the bloodstream would be measured accurately. Unfortunately, this is not the case. The breathalyzer takes what it believes to be lung air and runs it through the computer which computes what it believes to be the blood alcohol concentration.
This number is, unfortunately, inaccurate. The problem is frequently seen when individuals who have just brushed their teeth and used mouthwash as dentists frequently recommend are asked to take a breathalyzer and somehow register as being drunk at 8:30am in the morning.
The Temperature of Your Breath
Oddly enough, the temperature of your breath can affect a breathalyzer reading. The machine is calibrated to test the breath at 34 degrees centigrade, but studies show that at the time of the arrest, people generally come closer to 35.5 degrees centigrade. The result of this can mean a 10-20% higher reading.
"I consider trial by jury as the only anchor ever yet imagined by man, by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution."
- Thomas Jefferson
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