August 28, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/
-- When a person is pulled over and arrested for drunk driving, the penalties for a conviction
can be severe ones. According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, a person with a first-time DUI conviction faces time in a county jail, a suspended license, a revoked license and fines up to $1,000. On top of the criminal penalties, a person may find it difficult to work in specific industries, find their current job in jeopardy and may suffer public embarrassment or trouble with their academic pursuits, if they are a college student.
It is important to make sure that the evidence has not been gathered in a manner that violated a person's rights and that the evidence is accurate. Since many people are convicted in California, based on the results of a breath test, they should be aware that the accuracy of such tests has been called into question.
A breath test is not based on science
Many people assume that a breath test is based on a scientific process but according to the National Motorists Association, this is not the case. Several studies have shown, that unlike blood tests, breath tests have a 50 percent margin of error. When someone breathes a breath test reading of 0.01, their actual blood alcohol content level has been shown in a blood test to be 0.05 to 0.15. While someone with a BAC level well over the legal limit of 0.08 would still be proven to be over the limit, someone with a breath test reading at 0.08 to 0.09 may find themselves unfairly charged and convicted of drunk driving.
The State University of New York explains that breathalyzers do not just measure the amount of ethyl alcohol in a person's system. They also measure compounds that match the molecular structure. This means that it is possible for a person to fail a breathalyzer test without consuming an alcoholic drink.
Influencing factors on breath tests
Studies show that other existing factors can influence the outcome of a breath test. These factors include, but are not limited to:
In one study, a subject painted a wall with oil-based paint after working with contact cement. A breath test was performed 20 minutes after the person's exposure to the chemicals. His breath test reading was 0.12 even though he had not touched alcohol. Furthermore, many breath test devices are influenced by the temperature of its environment and, as such, it is important for the officer to make sure that it is correctly calibrated for that temperature to avoid getting a false reading.
Other factors can actually result in a lower breath test reading such as a person hyperventilating or someone who has just finished running or performing some other high-physical activity. With the inaccuracy that these machines pose, people who have only consumed one or two drinks could become victim of a higher BAC reading. When a person is arrested for drunk driving, it is a good idea for them to seek the help of an experienced attorney in their area.