It's irritating to be subjected to a breath test when you are pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving. Even if you are irked by having to take the test, you need to pay attention to how it is administered. Try to remember everything you can because you don't know what point might seem unimportant until it is time to plan your defense.
There are many different factors that can impact a breath test. Here are some important considerations for you to remember in case you are ever stopped for drunk driving and tested.
Technologies used for alcohol breath testing
The type of breath test that's used can have an impact on the result. Most of the large table top machines that police officers use in stations are spectrophotometer models. These machines identify molecules in the sample using infrared light. Using this method, the level of ethanol can be singled out.
Another type is the semiconductor oxide-based model. These require more frequent calibration. A special ethanol-specific sensor determines the blood alcohol content of the sample. These machines are usually light and small, so they are highly portable.
The third type is the fuel-cell tester, which is the most commonly used in roadside tests. More than 30 states allow tests done roadside to be submitted into evidence if the machine is a fuel-cell test model. This type of machine uses a chemical reaction to oxidize the alcohol, which then creates an electrical current. That current is what is used to determine blood alcohol concentration (BAC).
Factors that can affect blood alcohol concentration
Several different factors can impact the reading on a breath test. While you can't trick a breath test, you might end up with a false positive result if you used mouthwash shortly before taking the test; this is because many mouthwashes contain alcohol. Additionally, some medical conditions might impact your breath test result, as can vomiting prior to the test.
There are many possible defenses against a DUI charge. If possible, make notes about everything you can remember about the traffic stop and everything up to the arrest. You should also review information about the breath test to determine if there is anything that you can call into question as part of your strategy.