Howard County DUI Breathalyzers

Howard County DUI breathalyzers can recognize if there is alcohol in a person’s system. They are used to determine if someone is drinking and driving. The breathalyzer is a catch-all term for different things. When someone is arrested by the side of the road, they can be given what is called a preliminary breath test; it is not the breathalyzer, but it tests the alcohol concentration in a person’s breath. It is not very accurate, it is not admissible in court against a person, but it does give the officers basis to arrest someone if it returns a high enough reading.

An intoximeter machine is a machine back at the station that is very accurate and one that they can use against a person at trial if it registers a high enough reading, as long as they follow the protocol while administering. If a person believes the preliminary breath test or intoximeter machine miscalculated or was incorrectly administered, they should consult an experienced DUI lawyer.

Vehicle Interlock Device

There is the breathalyzer in a vehicle, in which a person blows into the machine to get the car started. That is not really a breathalyzer; that is actually a vehicle interlock device. It is designed for people who want to keep driving, but have been charged with DUI, so they do not lose their license.

The instrument on a person’s car only detects if there is alcohol in an individual’s system. It is not a matter of whether it is accurate, or not, because in a DUI scenario if a person hits a certain threshold, they can be arrested or charged. But, when a person is driving, in order to start the device interlock, the driver should not any alcohol at all because it will violate the machine and will not let that person start the car.

History of the Breathalyzer Accuracy

Typically speaking, those machines are fairly accurate. They are service and regulated in a very controlled environment and they have certain protocols that must be followed. There is an actual chemist, or a person trained to administer the test. It is never the arresting officer; they are not allowed to do it. So, there is very, very specific protocol they follow to ensure reliability and accuracy of the machine.

Common Misconceptions

The conception is a person should always refuse; that is not true at all. Because if someone refuses it can be used against them. The judge and prosecutor can argue, and assume, that the person refused because they knew they would have failed, or thought they would have failed. That is a strike against them. Secondly, they will lose their license for nine months, whereas if a person blows a reading, it will be much shorter suspension period or, maybe, not suspended at all. If there is a chance a person will blow under 0.08. So, there are some instances where a person, for strategy purposes, may refuse but they should not outright refuse because they think they can.

Right to Speak with an Attorney

The police often do not tell a person this, but an individual is permitted to ask to speak to an attorney before submitting to the breath test as long as they are not using it for delay purposes. If they want to speak to an attorney for a consult about whether or not to take it, they can.