The fastest way to obtain a blood alcohol reading is through the use of a breath testing device. The Intoxilyzer 5000 is the most common of these used in Georgia. This instrument enables police to acquire a potentially admissible piece of evidence right at the scene. While this is incredibly convenient for law enforcement, accuracy is still a major concern. Everything from body temperature, calibration and electrical frequencies can affect the readings of breath analyzers.

Generally a police officer will observe reckless driving or intoxicated behavior through a sobriety checkpoint. Law enforcement will then initiate either field sobriety tests or chemical testing. At this time the driver should be informed that they are not required to take any chemical test; however this may result in a long-term license suspension. A breath testing device is generally preferred since it is minimally invasive and typically more accurate than the field sobriety tests that rely on physical abilities. To complete the breath test, the driver will blow into the instrument for an amount of time until the reading can be generated. It is worth noting that it could be difficult for people with medical conditions to exhale for so long. If the reading generated is at .08 or above, the suspect may be charged with DUI. The reading may be as little as .02 for drivers under 21, or .04 for commercial drivers.

Is there a chance my breath test was inaccurate?

There are many basic flaws associated with breath analyzers that you should know about. Did you know that unless the instrument is calibrated properly, the results can be artificially inflated? That’s right. The Intoxilyzer 5000 (along with other breath testing machines) needs to be regularly calibrated by a competent individual. Otherwise, factors such as changing air temperature will affect the reliability. High readings may also be caused by mouth washes and breath sprays containing alcohol. In addition, many physical conditions can alter readings including acid reflux and dental diseases.

I failed a breath test. What now?

You are at a critical juncture, which requires you to make a decision. You can take a chance and trust that the legal system treats you fairly or you can hire a DUI lawyer with years of experience to help guide you through this very complicated and serious process. With your driver’s license, money, job, personal pride and freedom at stake - this is an easy decision.

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