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DC DUI Breath Test Errors

The DUI lawyer could use a person’s breath test as a defense if that breath test came back at a low level. There is a problem with the law in that the legal per se limit of impairment is 0.08 percent. Everyone knows that is the standard limit. If someone gives a breath sample that is 0.08 or above, they are deemed to be impaired under the law.

Types of Alcohol and Drug Samples

When someone is arrested in Washington, DC on suspicion of driving or operating their vehicle under the influence of alcohol, they are first taken to a DC police station where they would be booked, fingerprinted, processed and read an implied consent form which informs the person being arrested of their rights.

They will also be informed of their obligations with regards to submitting a sample of either breath, blood or urine for the purposes of a chemical test. These are most often requested by police in situations where the police believe that a person may be under the influence of drugs, medication or some combination of substances.

Why Is it Most Likely Someone Will be Breath Tested?

Breath testing is cheaper and easier for the DC prosecutors to admit as evidence whereas blood testing requires a lot more paperwork and a lot more expertise and is thereby much more expensive to do compared to breath testing.

Possibility of Urine Testing

The test that is given most often in DC is a breath test. In some situations, the police may ask a suspect to give a breath test and a urine test. The reason why police use urine testing in these situations is that breath testing only has the ability to determine the amount of alcohol in a person’s system.

Urine testing tests for drugs, medication and alcohol present in a person’s urine at the time of testing. It is rare for police to take blood samples in DUI cases. The only exception to that is in the event that a DUI suspect is involved in a traffic accident and that accident results in injuries.

In that case, DC law says that the DUI suspect will be taken to a hospital whereby the hospital will then extract a sample of the suspect’s blood and test for alcohol, drug or medication in the person’s blood.

Effect of Teeth

Any kind of dental work, particularly new dental work, piercings, dentures, dental caps, and any dental problems can result in mouth alcohol being artificially high because alcohol can be trapped in devices and crevices present in the mouth.

For example, if the person has braces and is drinking, it is possible that some of the liquid or some of the alcohol might be present the area around the metal in the braces and in the gaps or crevices there.

In DC DUI cases, a breathalyzer test must be accurate so there should be nothing foreign in the mouth. That ensures that the machine is testing only the person’s breath and nothing else that might be between their lungs and the machine that can affect the machine’s read.

Unknown Conditions

Most of the time, police officers have no prior experience with a particular person so they do not know whether the person has balance issues that have nothing to do with alcohol consumption.

There are a couple of conditions that may result in a questionable breath test recording. One is ketosis that can occur when a person was eating a certain diet and exercising.

The person does not have sufficient carbohydrate intake for energy so the body produces ketones to use for fuel. The body makes its own alcohol because it is metabolizing fat and that can artificially skew a test.

Reflux can also skew a person’s test result. It artificially boosts a breath test result because alcohol that should be in the stomach ends up in the person’s mouth. The reading from the breathalyzer is not a true and accurate representation of the alcohol in the person’s bloodstream at the time of the test.

Rather, the reading was affected by one or more outside influences such as GERD, the presence of dentures, or something else. Anyone who has a DUI lawyer needs to discuss all of these physical facts about themselves to make sure that the lawyer explores every possible defense.

Working with an Attorney

Someone meeting with their DUI lawyer should let the lawyer know about any health issues they have in general, and specific to the events related to a DUI arrest.

In other words, if the person suffers from a chronic ailment, the lawyer needs to know that. When law enforcement conducts a DUI investigation, they rely on what they observe in general or specific to field sobriety tests.

They also subject the person to a breathalyzer or other chemical tests if possible. It is important for the DUI lawyer to know about ailments their client has generally or specific to that event and the time of the DUI investigation and arrest because the officers are making assumptions.

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