DUI PAS/BREATHALYZER EVIDENCE

Most anyone who has ever faced a DUI arrest has experienced the "pleasure" of blowing into a preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) device or breathalyzer. Police often use these handheld PAS devices to quickly determine if there is probable cause to arrest someone for a DUI offense. After being arrested you might choose to do a breath test (breathalyzer). While these testing tools are not only embarrassing to use, there is significant debate in the scientific community when it comes to issues surrounding DUI breath testing accuracy when not properly administered or certain medical conditions.

For PAS devices, they are typically used after the SFSTs are administered and are supposed to be used after an officer observes that the individual has not eaten, chewed, eaten, drank, belched, or any other thing that may affect its accuracy. Of course with all that is going on during the investigation, who knows what all is going on.

While much of the basis of a DUI arrest comes from a breath test, breath devices can be inaccurate testing method leaves and can leave too many unanswered questions without looking into calibration, maintenance records and your medical conditions.

If have recently taken a breathalyzer test and feel that the results may have been wrong, contact the DUI Law Office of Joshua Kaizuka. We offer free consultations to discuss the details of DUI cases and can help you build a strong DUI defense against any charges that you may be facing.

 

We serve the entire greater Sacramento area and can be reached by phone at 916-706-0678.

DUI BREATHALYZER TESTING

In the US, two primary methods are used to determine blood alcohol levels - breath and blood samples. Although blood samples offer far more accurate results, they are much harder to come by. This type of testing requires a visit to a hospital or a blood draw by a trained medical professional.

This is rarely a viable option during a typical traffic stop.

Instead, law enforcement is forced to utilize portable hand-held breathalyzers to test the BAC (blood alcohol concentration) of a suspect’s breath. Although meant to establish only a “rough estimate” of intoxication levels, there is considerable room for error when using these devices. In some counties, law enforcement use what is referred to as an EPAS instead of a breathalyzer device at the jail or police station.

In fact, some people are not correctly advised on their options and the consequences for either providing a breath, blood, or urine sample that is required per California and Federal law.

DUI BREATH TESTING METHODS

DUI breath accuracy is centered on the idea that measuring traces of alcohol in a person's breath can correlate to the overall intoxication level in their bloodstream. The BAC number is calculated based on a scientific formula of what expected levels would be for an “average” person under “ideal” conditions. However, testing in the field almost never meets such perfect standards.

There are also strict guidelines that must be followed to get the most accurate results. According to Dr. Kurt M. Dubowski - whom some consider the foremost authority in blood and alcohol research today - field sobriety tests should be performed in an exact 4-step sequence to be considered reliable DUI evidence.

 
  1. Suspected drunk drivers should be observed for at least 15 minutes before any tests are given
  2. “Blank” testing needs to be done before each sample that is collected for evidence
  3. Police must collect at least two separate, consecutive samples – between two and ten minutes apart – to validate their findings
  4. There should be an appropriate “control” test done along with each sample test

Unless law enforcement is closely monitoring how each and every blood alcohol test is given (which is nearly impossible to do), there is significant room for error in most any breathalyzer results.

If you think you may be the victim of a bumbled field sobriety test, seek the advice of a competent DUI attorney like those at the Law Office of Joshua Kaizuka. Our team of professionals has been helping DUI victims in Northern California for 15 years.

 

As one of the premier DUI law firms in the greater Sacramento area, we have the knowledge, resources and experience necessary to help reduce or even eliminate many of the DUI charges that you may be facing.

 

Call our offices today at 916-706-0678 to schedule your complimentary DUI consultation and discover the best options for your DUI case.

DUI BREATHALYZER TESTING PROBLEMS

Although Breathalyzer testing is a fundamental part of most DUI investigations, there are a number of factors that can affect the results.

  • Calibration - As with any testing device, breathalyzers need to be periodically calibrated and have their batteries replaced. Failure to perform this kind of basic maintenance can create inaccurate readings.
  • Foreign Substances - Substances in the mouth that may contain alcohol (mouthwashes, breath fresheners, over-the-counter medicines, etc.) can trigger false positives as well.
  • Police also have to be careful about verifying that a suspect has not recently burped, belched or vomited as these can all cause breath alcohol readings to rise beyond their normal levels.
  • ​Human Error - Although easy to use, you still need to follow the directions to get an accurate result.
  • ​Software - Similar to computers, breathalyzers run on special software to operate. Moreover, like other electronic devices, they are subject to problems, errors and crashes.
  • ​Environmental Factors - Since they may have similar chemical signatures, everyday items like adhesives, varnishes, and even paint fumes can trigger false positives.
  • Consistency - A single test does not make for valid evidence. Multiple tests must be performed to ensure a single high reading is not just an anomaly.

Although field sobriety tests have become the standard for evaluating drunk driving incidents, the science still has a long way to go to become a true indicator of a suspect’s intoxication level.

SELECTING A DUI ATTORNEY

If you or someone you know is facing a DUI case, one of the best things you can do is seek the counsel of an experienced DUI law firm. A skilled DUI attorney can examine the facts of a case and quickly find holes in both the evidence and the procedures used to obtain it. Building a strong DUI defense can often help victims negotiate better settlements and experience more satisfying results.

 

The Law Office of Joshua Kaizuka has tried countless cases in Northern California that involved questionable DUI breathalyzer accuracy. If you have questions or concerns about how police gathered your BAC results, contact our office today for a free consultation to discuss your case.

There is no charge to speak to us and you will always receive honest feedback about the validity of your case. Remember, the sooner you call us at 916-706-0678 the faster we can start building your defense and achieving incredible results.