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Florida DUI: Breath tests not always accurate

One of the ways that law enforcement determines intoxication is by administering a breath test and often an entire DUI case hinges on the result.
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    December 07, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Florida DUI: Breath tests not always accurate

Miami is known for its nightlife and after the day's work is done, there are dozens of clubs, restaurants, bistros and bars where people can unwind and meet others. However, as people are making their way home after a night of fun, sometimes those evenings end with a law officer pulling them over under suspicion of drunk driving.

One of the ways that law enforcement determines intoxication is by administering a breath test and often an entire DUI case hinges on the result of that breath test. When a person is convicted of drunk driving they often face a number of penalties that can include jail time, fines, license suspension, ignition interlocks and participation in a treatment program.

Breath test machines called into question

Last year, several judges questioned the validity of breath test machines in Ohio. WKYC stated that one judge ruled the machine's results were questionable and subsequently denied the results being entered in as evidence. A defense attorney stated that clients' readings were at lethal amounts and the machines were not reliable.

While the state has defended the use of them, some cities have changed to alternate testing methods to avoid legal issues with the courts until an official decision is made. It is unknown whether the matter will end up before the state's Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court.

Margin of error cited in breath tests

Scientific studies have shown there is a margin of error when it comes to breathalyzer machines, according to a report by the National Motorists Association. For instance, when a person has a blood alcohol content of 0.10 through a breathalyzer test, they may actually have a BAC of 0.15 down to 0.05. Clearly this is a problem if someone has had a couple of beers and their BAC is close to the legal limit.

Other studies have proven that the breath test results can be influenced by a number of outside factors, according to the State University of New York. These factors include:
-Electrical equipment like cell phones and police radios.
-The presence of blood in the mouth.
-Surrounding temperature.
-Tobacco smoke.

Chemicals can also play a large influence on the results of a breath test. In one experiment, a participant was asked to do a project that involved using oil-base paint and contact cement. The project took about an hour to do and then the participant was given a breath test 20 minutes later. Even though the participant had not consumed any alcohol, his breath test result was 0.12, well above the legal limit.

This means this person could easily have been charged with a DUI even though there was no alcohol in his system. It is, therefore, important for people to question the results of the breath test, even if they have had a couple of glasses of wine or beer. Speaking with an experienced attorney is beneficial in preserving one's rights to a fair and equal trial.

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