NY Breathalyzer Tests Are Not Always Accurate
Getting pulled over on suspicion of driving while intoxicated in New York
can be extremely overwhelming. Not only do people run the risk of being
subjected to field sobriety tests, but they may be asked to take a
Breathalyzer test as well. Law officials use Breathalyzer devices to determine if drivers
are operating a vehicle while intoxicated; however, studies show that
these tests are not always accurate. This can lead to a person being wrongfully
arrested and convicted of a DUI.
How to Breathalyzer devices work?
Breathalyzer devices offer police officers a way to calculate a driver’s
blood alcohol content without having to obtain an actual blood sample
from the individual. After the driver blows through a tube that is attached
to the device, the breath sample is analyzed for alcohol content. The
amount of alcohol present in the breath sample is then converted to blood
alcohol content reading.
Determining the accuracy of the results
A peer reviewed study conducted by LaBianca, Simpson, Thompson et al. discovered
a 50 percent discrepancy between the BAC results from a Breathalyzer test
and the BAC results from an actual blood test. This means that a person
with an actual BAC of 0.05 percent may receive a reading of 0.1 percent
on a Breathalyzer device, which would lead to their arrest.
Many states allow Breathalyzer results to be used in court as irrefutable
evidence that a person was intoxicated while driving. However, some states
now require blood samples to be used in order to obtain an accurate BAC level.
Compromised Breathalyzer results
According to an article published by the State University of New York,
Breathalyzer devices determine the BAC of a breath sample by measuring
the amount of ethyl alcohol contained in the sample. Interestingly enough,
there are a number of substances found in human breath that have similar
molecular structures to ethyl alcohol, including acetone. The National
Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that dieters and diabetics
may have a high concentration of acetone in their breath, leading to a
false Breathalyzer reading.
The State University of New York also reports several other factors that
may influence a Breathalyzer reading. These include:
- Chemicals found in paint, cleaning fluids and gasoline.
- Tobacco smoke.
- Interference from cellphones and police radios.
- Blood in the driver’s mouth.
- Ingestion of bread products.
- Physical activity.
Partnering with an attorney
A DUI conviction can be devastating to a person’s life and comes
with excessive fines, revocation of your driver’s license and even
jail time. People facing DUI charges may want to team up with a reputable
attorney who can help them formulate a strong defense case.