The sound of a siren combined with flashing lights is the first indication that you are being pulled over by law enforcement. A night of fun with friends or family has taken a downward turn, particularly if you had a few cocktails before heading home.
If the officer believes you to be under the influence, he will likely ask you to undergo a breathalyzer test. The device estimates blood alcohol content (BAC). If it is above 0.08 percent – or 0.04 percent if you are a commercial driver – or you refuse to undergo the process, the chances are that you will head to jail instead of home.
The chemical process
Consuming alcohol absorbs into the stomach lining, goes into the bloodstream, and passes through the lungs, where it vaporizes. Breathalyzer testing determines the percentage of alcohol in a suspect to determine the level of intoxication from alcohol use.
Based on the BAC level, those drinking alcohol may experience everything from a “buzz” where they lose inhibitions while gaining significantly higher levels of alertness of aggression and depression. Beyond that, they could run the risk of falling into a coma or dying.
Generally, two types of breath analyzer tests exist, including preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) and evidential breath tests (EBTs). PAS is the handheld device used by law enforcement to identify BAC levels. Admittedly, the machines often lack accuracy. EBTs are the larger machines housed in police stations or jails used to confirm the initial results regarding the level of intoxication.
The accuracy of breathalyzers remains a continuing issue. Countless factors play a role in a breathalyzer test. Temperature, health status, and sheer human error can impact accurate findings. Even the volume of air exhaled can affect the conclusions. Help from an experienced DUI attorney can help get to the facts and pursue the best possible outcome.