Colonial Heights Breathalyzer Tests

Breathalyzers are considered reliable instruments in Colonial Heights, and police officers may administer a breathalyzer during an investigation to determine probable cause for an arrest or otherwise bolster a case. Keep in mind though, that there is a difference between a breathalyzer and a breath test.

An experienced DUI attorney could explain how Colonial heights breathalyzer tests work and how they may influence the outcome of a criminal trial.

History of Breathalyzers in Virginia

The standard of breathalyzer accuracy in Virginia has been built on years of science and studies based on the blood alcohol content in somebody’s breath. Courts assume that breathalyzers are accurate enough to create a presumption of intoxication, depending on the specific result of the reading.

The assumption of accuracy does not mean that a person is guaranteed to be considered intoxicated, but it does mean that the court can presume intoxication at a certain level (0.08 or higher). It works the same way in the alternative. If someone blows a certain number of points (0.05, because 0.06 or 0.07 are neutral) or someone blows below 0.06 or 0.05, 0.04, 0.03, 0.02 or 0.01 or 0.0, then they are presumed to be sober. While the number does not guarantee a conviction, it creates a rebuttable presumption that they are not intoxicated or sober.

Common Misconceptions

The biggest misconception about the breathalyzer is that it is the same thing as the preliminary breath test. The preliminary breath test (the “PBT”) is a test that is given to an accused individual, or somebody whom the police believe is intoxicated, during their investigation, to determine if they have probable cause to arrest the person for DUI. While the breathalyzer machine can actually be used as evidence against the person in court in determining what their level of intoxication is, the preliminary breath test cannot be used in that same way.

False Positives

Breathalyzers can sometimes result in false positives. Before administering a breathalyzer, police officers place the arrestee in a 20-minute observation period. During that 20-minute observation period, if there is vomiting, burping or, in certain cases, hiccups, this behavior can result in a false positive. Also, if an arrestee was drinking after they have already been stopped by police, then any subsequent breathalyzer results may also be considered a false positive.

If law enforcement cannot determine when the person actually ingested the alcohol and when intoxication would have taken effect, they will not know if it was prior to the driving or right after the driving.

Refusing a Breathalyzer

A driver’s license may be suspended if they refuse to take a breathalyzer, even if they are not convicted of the underlying DUI allegation. Drivers should keep the consequences of refusal in mind when determining whether they should comply with a breathalyzer test. While a refusal is not going to create any criminal liability, it can lead to the suspension of their license for one year.

How a Lawyer Could Help Analyze Breathalyzer Results

If you have been arrested for a DUI and a breathalyzer reading has become an important piece of evidence, consider reaching out to an experienced criminal defense lawyer. An attorney who understands Colonial heights breathalyzer tests could work to have the test dismissed or otherwise mitigate its effect on your case. Reach out today.

Colonial Heights Breathalyzer Tests