What Is The Procedure For The Evidential Breathalyzer Test?
A suspect arrested on probable cause for DWI must first be directly observed for 20 minutes to ensure that there is no act to introduce fluids from the chest into the mouth such as coughing, burping, and vomiting. Next, all electronic devices must be removed from the room. The machine is then started with arrest information inputted and there are calibrations run to ensure the machine is in working order. The mouth piece must be changed between each test and there must be a 2 minute lock out between each test. Following the breath test, a copy of the A.I.R. is to be given to the defendant.
How And Where Is The Breathalyzer Test Specifically Administered?
The breath test is administered at the police station in a controlled environment. After the machine is started and calibrated the individual gives two breathes which are evaluated by the machine using electrochemical and infrared processes. The machine goes through a series of calibrations and purging of the chamber followed by testing. At the end, the machine produces an alcohol influence report. The two readings must be within a 5% of each other in order to be valid.
How Does The Breathalyzer Machine Measure Alcohol In A Person’s System?
The machine runs dual tests using electrochemical and infrared processes.
How Accurate Are Breathalyzer Tests?
In order to be admissible the breath tests must be within 5% tolerance.
Why Is The Observation Period So Important?
The breath test is based on air passing over the aorta in the lungs and picking up traces of alcohol. Thus, we are looking for lung volume. If alcohol gets in the mouth from coughing or burping or vomiting, then there is a danger of a false reading. It takes 15 minutes for alcohol in the mouth to dissipate. The observation period is 20 minutes.
Do Police Officers Typically Abide By The Observation Period Protocols?
Without the benefit of in station video in every case it is no more than a guess. However a large number of cases we find occur without the breath tests being performed according to proper procedure.
What Happens If A Person Hiccups, Vomits, Or Has Acid Reflux During The Observation Period?
The police must allow the person to rinse their mouth and begin a new 20 minute observation. If they fail to commence a new 20 minute then the test is invalid and will likely set off the machine’s slope monitor.
What Types Of Machine Or Human Errors Can Cause A Misreading Of A Breathalyzer Test?
Failure to change mouth pieces or foreign objects left in mouth such as tongue ring or removable braces which can trap mouth alcohol. Also there can be an electronic device left in the room.
What Evidence Do You Review To Refute Breathalyzer Test Results?
We conduct a detailed interview of the defendant to identify possible deficiencies in the police case. Next we look for any video evidence and items missing in police reports. We then build a true time line using CAD, dispatch, and downloads from the Alcotest.
What Are The Top Misconceptions People Have About Breathalyzer Tests?
Defendants sometimes think that there is no way to beat the machine, there are many ways.
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