Articles Posted in False Positive

It’s no surprise that driving while under the intoxicating effects of drugs is illegal. A question often comes up, however: for how long after using a drug will a motorist be considered to be “under the influence”?

Once someone ingests a drug like cocaine or marijuana, the intoxicating effects wear off after a short time. However, that drug then is broken down by the body in a series of chemical processes. The active ingredient in a drug remains in a person’s system for a certain amount of time, depending on the drug.

When the body breaks down the active ingredient in a drug, there are byproducts called metabolites that are left behind. These metabolites, which register on a blood test, can remain in someone’s system for days or even weeks, depending on the drug and the frequency of use. The common consensus among experts is that most inactive metabolites do not cause intoxication; however, courts are only recently beginning to realize this. A recent case illustrates how one defendant’s conviction was reversed based on inaccurate and misleading jury instructions describing the effects of an inactive metabolite of cocaine.

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In Phoenix, AZ, attorney James Novak provides aggressive defense for DUI cases. A DUI can be defended on many fronts, many of which involve challenging the breath test results. A DUI breath test is designed to determine the level of alcohol in a driver’s system. When an alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher is found, the legal standard for DUI has been met. This threshold is relatively low, making it easier for law enforcement to write more DUI tickets and requiring defendants to fight the charges in order to protect their driving privileges. It is not unheard of for the breath test to give off a false positive, and a false positive with unnatural breathing is one of the most common causes for this type of inaccurate result.

How Your Breathing Can Affect A Breath Test

A breath test machine is designed to measure the amount of alcohol in a persons’ system by measuring the amount of alcohol in the breath. When the machine is blown into, it will give off a reading that translates to a BAC (blood alcohol content) level, if that level is higher than what is allowed by law, the driver can be arrested and charged with DUI. Because the test requires a person to blow into the device, how that person is breathing plays a role in the result. Taking a deep breath allows the alcohol stored at the bottom of your lungs to make its way to the top, and thus be the first thing measured by the testing device. The end result is a higher BAC level, otherwise known as a false positive. A more natural breathing pattern will yield a more accurate result and drivers should not allow an officer to require a large inhale before taking a breath test.

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