Impact of a Breathalyzer in a DC DUI Case
Many people do not believe their BAC is high enough to be arrested and charged with driving under the influence. A person does not have to be drunk or stumbling all over the place.
The only thing someone needs to know is that if they had any alcohol to drink and it is affecting them in any way, it might be enough for them to get a DUI. That is the case even when a person does not know their blood alcohol content. When making a DUI arrest, law enforcement typically considers field sobriety tests and general impressions about the person, to determine probable cause and confirm their suspicion of driving under the influence. Therefore, it may be critical to speak with an established DUI attorney about the impact of a breathalyzer in a DC DUI case.
What Does BAC Stand For?
BAC stands for a person’s blood alcohol content. It can be important to understand the impact of a breathalyzer in a DC DUI case and the potential outcome.
Understanding the Breath Test Administration Process
The breath test that is submitted into a breathalyzer machine is analyzed by the machine to determine the amount of alcohol in a person’s breath. That amount of alcohol in a person’s breath is then converted to a number that shows the amount of alcohol in the person’s bloodstream.
It is the amount of alcohol in a person’s bloodstream that determines the level of their impairment. That influences their level of motor functions and sometimes how well they are able to drive. Generally, the more intoxicated the person is the higher their blood alcohol content.
Judging the Height One’s BAC Level After Drinking
Every person is different. That means an individual may not be able to determine how many drinks will cause them to have a certain blood alcohol content.
There are all sorts of online and phone apps that ask a person how many drinks they had and how much they weigh to calculate their blood alcohol content.
Those are not necessarily reliable because different people metabolize alcohol in different ways. It is based on much more than simply their weight and how much alcohol they had to drink.
How Blood Alcohol Levels Can Differ
One person may be able to consume five drinks and metabolize alcohol very quickly so that their blood alcohol content never gets above a .08, and another person may have only two drinks and get up to a .08.
This all depends on many different parts of a person’s physiology. There is no way for a person to know exactly what their blood alcohol content level is after they have anything to drink.
Expectations Following a DUI Arrest
Once the police make that arrest, they may take the person to a police station and have them submit to the actual breathalyzer machine that produces a result that is admissible in court.
Once someone is arrested, no matter what the result of that breathalyzer machine is, that person will likely still have a court date following their arrest. Even when someone submits a breath sample and it produces a blood alcohol content of zero, that person is still most likely gets arrested.
At that point, the person can fight any allegations of driving under the influence in their court case using the assistance of a lawyer.
Contributing Factors to Breathalyzer Results
Police officers only give a breathalyzer test after they make an arrest on suspicion of driving under the influence. When making that determination as to whether to arrest a person, a police officer considers a number of different things.
They can consider:
- The smell of alcohol on a person’s breath
- How a person speaks
- Whether their speech is slurred
- Whether they seem to be forgetful
- Have compromised motor skills
- How the person is driving
- How they are walking
- How they perform on standardized field sobriety tests
After the police conduct all of the tests, they may ask the person to submit to a roadside breath test. The roadside breath test does not produce a blood alcohol content number that is usable in court or as evidence. The roadside breath tests determine whether there is alcohol in a person’s system. It is not usable as evidence.
Can the Results of a Breathalyzer be Wrong?
It is not impossible to expect a positive impact of a breathalyzer in a DC DUI case. The roadside breath test a person might be asked to take is not intended to produce completely accurate results.
The breathalyzer machines used at the station are supposed to be relatively easy to read and use by the police. However, they are still subject to human error.
In the end, it is still a human being operating the machine. As a result, the machines are subject to the same kind of errors consistent with a human being-operated machine.
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