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Denver Criminal Lawyer Answers Common Questions About Breathalyzer Tests

October 24, 2018

Getting pulled over for a suspected DUI can be stressful. While there are several roadside sobriety tests the authorities might ask you to undergo at a traffic stop, none is more common than the Breathalyzer test. This test has a reputation for being both inaccurate and incredibly popular and if you’ve never been pulled over before, you may have several questions about the test. Your trusted Denver criminal defense attorney shares some of the most frequently asked questions about the Breathalyzer test and what you can expect during a routine DUI traffic stop. 

What does the breathalyzer test really check?

The Breathalyzer test, in theory, tests for alcohol on your breath. As you drink, your body metabolizes the alcohol, but this doesn’t mean it can’t be measured accurately. The thought is, if you’ve been drinking before you get behind the wheel, the test will pick up the concentration of alcohol in your bloodstream as you exhale, not just what’s on your breath.  

Is the test accurate?

The most accurate form of blood alcohol testing is done by taking a blood sample. The breathalyzer test can be fooled or measured inaccurately by many household substances like mouthwash and even some chewing gum. A single sip of alcohol can be enough to trigger a false reading, making the test less reliable.

Can I be arrested for a positive breathalyzer test?

The breathalyzer test is used by law enforcement to act as probable cause in possible DUI cases. It’s not admissible in court, but it does give them enough evidence to justify taking you into custody. Keep in mind that most courts rely on the BAC levels found through blood tests and more formal breathalyzer tests done at the police station rather than a roadside breathalyzer check. 

Can I refuse to take the test?

You can. However, depending on the other observations the officer has made of your behavior (erratic driving, slurred speech, poor balance, etc) they may have enough evidence to arrest you without the result of the roadside breath test.  

Is there any way to beat the test?

It seems like there’s a new method to help people beat the breathalyzer test popping up out of the woodwork. Almost as soon as they pop up, they’re debunked. Just because the test is not the most accurate method to measure BAC doesn’t mean it can be fooled. In truth, there’s no way to completely fool the test. If you’ve been drinking, you’ll test positive with the breathalyzer. To borrow a phrase from the 80s movie "Wargames"... "The only winning move is not to play."  Simply decline to participate in taking the roadside breath test.

If you’re facing DUI charges after a failed roadside breathalyzer test, contact the legal team at The Law Office of John L. Buckley, P.C. We’ll help you prepare a defense and get you ready for everything the legal system can throw your way. Schedule a consultation today and let our team help you manage and navigate the legal system so you’ll never have to be on your own. Contact us online or call (303) 501-1800 to discuss your case today.