Breathalyzer Do’s and Don’ts: How DUI Test’s Work

Drunk guy doing a mock sobriety testWe all know that driving drunk is not a smart thing to do. In fact, most people that have been known to drive drunk will admit to the foolishness of the act themselves when they are sober. However, alcohol tends to cloud judgment and people who would normally not do foolish things tend to act in an irresponsible manner. This, unfortunately, includes drunk driving.

Drunk driving is a danger to society:

Even good people who decide to just drive this one time while intoxicated could have their life changed forever. If caught by law enforcement while driving under the influence you could face the possibility of license suspension, heavy fines, or even jail time. Law enforcement uses a variety of tactics to determine if a person is intoxicated, which can then be presented in court as evidence for the arrest. It is important to understand that the primary resource at law enforcements disposal is the breathalyzer, which shows the officer the level of alcohol, by percentage, in the blood of the driver.

A breathalyzer is administered by a law enforcement officer when they have established through reasonable suspicion that the driver is possibly intoxicated and therefore operating the vehicle in an impaired mental state. To validate this assumption the police officer will administer a battery of tests that will determine the sobriety level of the driver. These tests will demonstrate the individual’s ability to balance, ability to follow simple commands, and to identify visual impairment due to alcohol. Once the officer has determined that the person appears to lack the ability to drive a vehicle, he or she, will administer a breathalyzer to determine if alcohol is the cause of the impairment, and if the level of alcohol in the individual’s blood warrants an arrest for driving under the influence. Of course, the driver can refuse to take the breathalyzer but they had better have one of the best DUI attorneys on-call and be prepared to make their case in court.

How does a breathalyzer work?

Breathalyzers are administered on the scene by an officer who asks the driver to place the tube of the breathalyzer in their lips and blow. The instrument works to measure the amount of alcohol in the breath exhaled by the driver as compared to amount of oxygen exhale produced. Since alcohol gets into the blood stream and this then runs through the lungs, the air exhaled will provide a clear indicator of the level of blood alcohol percentage by measuring the percentage of alcohol in the breath. A formula is used to calculate the level of blood in the alcohol as compared to that in the breath.
When a breathalyzer test is administered the sample is distributed into a vial which contains a solution of dichromate ion. Ethanol, or alcohol content, reacts with the dichromate ion and the mixture changes to a golden yellow because of the reaction of the chemicals. The difference is compared to that of a solution of dichromate with zero ethanol. The color of the tube allows the officer to identify the ethanol level of the driver.

Should you refuse a DUI test?

However, since the evidence relies on chemical formulas, alcohol content measures in the breath (which could also come from the mouth), and other factors like the temperature at which the test is administered, all of these can be challenged by a good attorney at trial (however be ready for the expenses involved in a trial as well as the emotional stress that will come along with it). See should I refuse a DUI test for more.

An arrest for DWI / DUI doesn’t have to ruin your future, make the smart decision and don’t drink and drive!

Andrew Miller is an experienced Social Media expert and Author. He has worked in marketing for over a decade and finds his passion in bringing concepts to life for the world to enjoy. He is also an avid blogger and currently working on a book with his wife about social entrepreneurship. He is a true Socialpreneur and finds that his goal in life is to be an agent for positive social change through both his writing and business endeavors.
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