DUI Breath Testing
Why are breath tests so important for a DUI? One reason is that a driver's blood alcohol content (BAC) is directly tied to one of the primary DUI charges in Georgia. Under state law, you are considered to be per se in violation if you have a BAC of 0.08% or higher. For commercial drivers, that level is 0.04%, and for under-21 drivers, the limit is 0.02%. That means that even if you were driving perfectly and committed no traffic violations, a BAC over the limit is enough to say you were violating the state's DUI laws.
How do prosecutors show that you had a BAC over the limit? Prosecutors attempt to prove your BAC was over the limit through using chemical tests. Usually this involves a breath test or a blood test. The problem with these tests is that the machines are not always accurate. They may show a BAC higher or lower than your actual blood alcohol level at the time you were driving.
A field breath test is usually less accurate than the machine at the police station. The preliminary alcohol screening device, often called a breathalyzer, is used to help the police justify your arrest for a DUI. However, this test is not mandatory, and because of the risk of giving an inaccurate result, many people chose to refuse a field breath test. This is your right.
However, if you are arrested for driving under the influence, the police will usually have you submit to a chemical test, which they may use against you in court. If you refuse this chemical test, then you may have your license suspended for a year. This is because of Georgia's implied consent laws.
If you take a breath test machine and your BAC results show that you were over the limit, you may think you've lost. But before you think that the BAC results will mean a guaranteed conviction, you need to understand how inaccurate these tests can be. Just because a piece of paper says you were drunk does not make it so.
There are a number of ways to challenge breath test results. After All, if the machine was working properly, or the officer conducting the test did it wrong, why should you be punished for something that wasn't your fault?
Intoxilyzer Breath Testing
The machines used in Georgia DUI cases are based on a complex analysis of chemicals in your breath. But like any machine, it has to be kept in proper condition and regularly calibrated to ensure it is as accurate as possible. On top of that, the person operating the machine has to be properly trained in use of the device. If those things aren't done, the machine can spit out inaccurate results, which could threaten to land you in jail.
Your Atlanta DUI lawyer should be well versed in the Intoxilyzer 5000 and the Intoxilyzer 9000, including how they work, proper use of the machine, and calibration. If your test wasn't done according to the rules, your results can possibly be thrown out. Some departments are still using older machines rather than update to more advanced models. Could these outdated machines be hurting your chances of getting a fair BAC reading?
There are a number of other factors which could alter your breath test results. Sometimes medications, or even your body's own medical conditions can skew the numbers just enough to make you over the limit. So just because the numbers look bad on paper doesn't make them true in real life. Contact your Atlanta DUI lawyer so they can investigate the breath test machine, and the results. They may even recommend getting an independent test.
Atlanta DUI Breath Test Lawyer
A chemical breath test showing that you were driving over the legal limit does not necessarily mean that you have to be convicted for a DUI. The results of a breath test can be challenged in Atlanta DUI court for many of reasons. At Lawson and Berry, we have dedicated our entire legal career to defending people charged with driving under the influence and other alcohol-related offenses. Call us today, and I will fight to make sure you get your license back and stay out of jail.