Breathalyzer Results and the Flow of Breath

Aug 15, 2017 — by James E. Novak Attorney PLLC
Tags: Dui Criminal Law

A woman being handed a breath alcohol testing devicePolice officers often rely on DUI breath test devices, most commonly a Breathalyzer test, to determine if someone is driving while under the influence. However, a DUI breath test only provides an estimate of blood alcohol concentration and may be challenged in a court of law. There are many factors that can affect the results of a Breathalyzer test. One significant factor is the flow of breath itself.

Let's take a moment to consider Breathalyzer results and the flow of breath in DUI cases. To learn more about your legal rights regarding Breathalyzer results and the flow of breath, contact the law offices of James Novak in Phoenix, AZ.

About Breath Alcohol Tests

Breath alcohol tests are used by police officers to test the levels of intoxication in people suspected of being under the influence of alcohol. There are different devices used for testing breath alcohol, one of the most common being a Breathalyzer.

Breath alcohol tests are based on the principle that alcohol can travel through the breath as a result of alcohol in the bloodstream moving across the lung's air sacs, or alveoli, and into the air. Because the alcohol levels within the breath are passed from the blood stream, breath alcohol levels are theoretically very close to those within the bloodstream.

Breath alcohol tests are used to determine a person's blood alcohol concentration (BAC), by measuring ethanol levels in the breath. However, even the best breath alcohol tests are only able to provide an estimate of blood alcohol levels. Because breath alcohol testing is only able to provide an estimate, the results can sometimes be inaccurate.

How Does the Flow of Breath Affect Breathalyzer Test Results?

There are a surprising number of factors that can affect the result a breath alcohol test. Health conditions, like diabetes and hypoglycemia, can cause acetone levels to be elevated.

Perhaps even more surprising is the fact that the flow of breath can impact the result of a Breathalyzer test. This is because exhaling can actually change the concentration of alcohol in the breath. In normal breathing, some amount of air stays within the lungs. When exhaling for a breath alcohol test, people are told to blow longer and with more force than is typical in normal breathing. This brings up air from the bottom of the lungs, where alcohol levels are more concentrated, which in turn can cause a breath alcohol test to be inaccurately elevated.

The Results of Breathalyzer Tests May Be Challenged

Although breath alcohol tests are seen as a reliable measure of alcohol concentration by law enforcement, the results of a breath alcohol test is not incontrovertible proof that a person had a certain blood alcohol level when driving.

Breath alcohol tests are only an estimate of blood alcohol concentration and can be affected by many different factors, most notably the flow of breath. Because breath alcohol tests can produce inaccurate results, it is important for those accused of driving under the influence to contact an attorney experienced in DUI and breath alcohol test cases.

The Law Offices of James Novak Can Help In Your DUI Case

If you are facing a charge of driving under the influence, the results of your breath alcohol test may successfully be challenged in court. The law offices of James Novak can help. Contact our law offices today to discuss the details of your case.

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