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Some question the accuracy of Breathalyzer tests used in DUI cases

The purpose of the Breathalyzer device is to determine the concentration of alcohol in an individual's blood system.
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    February 09, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Getting pulled over on suspicion of drinking and driving is a scary and overwhelming experience. While dealing with an officer during a DUI stop can be nerve-wracking, you may not be able to ensure that all of your rights are being protected. For years, drunk drivers have been convicted of DUIs using their blood-alcohol content level as proof that they are driving above the legal limit of 0.08 percent. While the BAC level obtained from a blood sample clearly represents the actual content of alcohol in the motorist, there are issues as to whether a Breathalyzer test gives a concise and reliable BAC reading. This may lead to a wrongful DUI conviction of a motorist who was driving within legal limits.

How Breathalyzers work

The purpose of the Breathalyzer device is to determine the concentration of alcohol in an individual's blood system. It doesn't measure the blood content, however, it measure the presence of alcohol in the individual's breath. The motorist is asked to breath into a tube that is connected to the device. The resulting breath alcohol content is then put through a formula, calculating the blood-alcohol content. Numerous studies have found that the resulting blood-alcohol content calculations are unreliable and inaccurate in many cases.

Question of accuracy

In studies conducted by LaBianca, Simpson, Thompson and associates, a surprising fifty percent margin of error was found upon comparing the Breathalyzer's calculation of the BAC level to the actual BAC obtained from a blood test. In states where a Breathalyzer reading is admissible as irrefutable evidence in court, questions are being asked as to whether motorists who were driving within legal limits are being wrongfully convicted of DUIs.

Know your rights

It is important to be aware of your rights should you be pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol.
- Officers must have probable cause to search your vehicle. If you look intoxicated, smell like alcohol or grant them permission, they may do so.
- You are not required to answer any questions. If you are asked a question that may incriminate you, plead the fifth.
- You have the ability to refuse a Breathalyzer test; however, in the state of Tennessee, the officer may seek a warrant, forcing you to submit to a blood test.
- The officer must have probable cause to administer a Breathalyzer test.

If you feel as though your rights were not upheld, it is crucial to contact a reputable criminal law attorney to help you fight your case.

Find an attorney

There is a lot at stake when accused of a DUI. A wrongful conviction can follow you around for years, wreaking havoc on various aspects of your life. Be sure to find an attorney who has extensive experience in representing those who have been accused or convicted of a DUI in Tennessee.

Article provided by Brent Horst, Attorney at Law & Associates
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