When a police officer stops your vehicle under suspicion of DUI, he or she will likely ask you to submit to a breath test to determine your BAC. The way they obtain this sample is by using a handheld Breathalyzer, which measures the amount of alcohol in your breath. Unlike blood tests, Breathalyzer tests are painless and easy to administer on the side of the road.
Their convenience and accuracy make them a favorite for law enforcement officials throughout California. Yet these tests are not nearly as accurate as many are led to believe. Improper administration, inaccurate calibration, certain foods, and even medical conditions can all lead to false readings.
Police officers are supposed to be properly trained to use the handheld Breathalyzer. In addition, these machines must be maintained and calibrated in order to trigger accurate readings.
An officer is supposed to observe a DUI suspect for 15 minutes prior to administering the Breathalyzer. During this time, suspects are not supposed to smoke, chew gum, or eat mints. When they are administering the test, suspects are not supposed to burp, belch, or vomit. These can all falsely raise the Breathalyzer reading. Unfortunately, police officers do not always follow these rules and procedures when administering a Breathalyzer. As a result, innocent men and women are mistakenly arrested for DUI every year.
The Breathalyzers detect any amount of alcohol in your breath. Foods that contain alcohol or that ferment can falsely raise the BAC readings. Mouthwashes and paint fumes can notoriously trigger elevated readings due to the alcohol that is left in the mouth. Also, dieters who follow the Atkins diet can trick Breathalyzers due to the isopropyl alcohol that is produced in high protein diets.
At the Oakland Law Office of Nabiel C. Ahmed, our law firm serves clients in Oakland, San Francisco, Walnut Creek, and throughout the East Bay. Call us today to set up a free review of your case at (510) 907-6600. We know that Breathalyzers are often incorrect and police officers make mistakes. If you are already detained, we are also available for phone consultations and jail interviews. You can also fill out a confidential contact form.