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All about Breathalyzers: Taking them, accuracy, fighting results

Every day, all across the state of Connecticut, residents and visitors to this great state are stopped by police and asked to submit to sobriety testing. The Breathalyzer is a commonly used chemical test that law enforcement depends on when making arrests.

How does the Breathalyzer work? Do you have to take this test? Is it always accurate? Is there any way to fight the results?

Breathalyzer basics

The Breathalyzer is a small box with a tube attached for a suspected drunk driver to submit a breath sample. When you blow into the box, the chemicals contained in the box react with the breath sample. If the machine detects alcohol, the machine displays a blood-alcohol percentage on its screen.

To take it or not to take it?

Technically, according to implied consent laws, you should submit to sobriety testing when a law enforcement officer asks you to. You do have the right to refuse, though. Refusing may actually be in your best interest, but it is not without its consequences. If you refuse, you may be subject to an automatic license suspension, and the officer may still arrest you. You may still face charges for driving under the influence as well.

Accuracy

Many believe that the Breathalyzer is extremely accurate. Defense attorneys know better. A number of issues can cause a false reading, including:

  • Improper cleaning
  • Failure to maintain
  • Broken parts
  • Improper administration

Along with these issues, a number of substances can cause a high readout, such as:

  • Medications
  • Mints
  • Mouthwash

In other words, it is extremely sensitive and the result may not be trustworthy.

Fighting results

If you gave in and submitted to a Breathalyzer test and it was not to your benefit, legal counsel may be able to help you fight the results. How you do this depends on the details of your case. If you are able to get Breathalyzer tests thrown out, it can greatly increase the chances that the court will dismiss your case.

When charged with drunk driving, it can be easy to feel that there is no hope in fighting the charge, especially with evidence -- such as a failed Breathalyzer test -- going against you. Know that no DUI case is hopeless. With the right assistance, seeking a charge reduction or a case dismissal may be possible. It is just a matter of investigating the details of the case, questioning the evidence and presenting a strong argument in your favor.

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