Breath Test on the Side of the Road
All kinds of people can test over the legal limit if they are stopped by police to submit a preliminary breath test. Sometimes those people know they've had too much to drink, and may test well over the limit. Others may think that a couple of glasses of wine with dinner wouldn't put them over the limit, and freely submit to a test, only to find themselves over the limit, and under arrest.
However, for some people, they may have had nothing to drink, and the next thing they know they are getting arrested for blowing above the legal limit or even below the limit. Testing under the limit won't guarantee you are not arrested. These roadside tests are not always accurate, and they aren't even used as evidence in court for a DUI, but only as an investigative tool to help police decide whether to arrest the driver or not.
When the preliminary breath tests, like the Alco-Sensor, seem to work against the driver, you may wonder why people have to do these tests. The answer is: they don't! Preliminary breath tests, sometimes called a field breathalyzer, are not required. You can refuse a field breath test, and there are no penalties for refusing. The police may try and convince you that you should give a sample, but considering how unreliable they are, do you want to take that chance?
A blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher is the per se limit for a DUI in Georgia for most drivers. For young drivers (under 21) the limit is only 0.02%. For drivers of commercial vehicles, the limit is 0.04% BAC.
Breath Test at the Police Station
If you don't submit to a breath test when stopped by the police, they may still arrest you if they have enough evidence that you are intoxicated. When you are arrested, the police will give you a warning about refusing a chemical test, and ask you to submit to a blood, breath or urine test. Even if you gave a breath sample on the side of the road, you'll have to do it again. This time, the evidence can be used against you in court.
The implied consent law in Georgia basically says that if you refuse a chemical test after a DUI arrest, then you may lose your driving privileges. The Georgia Department of Driver Services may administratively suspend your driver's license for a whole year, and you may not even be able to get a limited driving permit to go to work or the doctor's office.
If you submit to the request for a chemical breath test, you could still have a suspended license if you don't fight the administrative license suspension, but the suspension isn't as bad as for refusing a chemical test.
Law enforcement in Georgia use a machine called the Intoxilyzer. The Intoxilyzer 9000 is supposed to be in place by the end of 2015, but until then, some departments may still be using the much older, and less advanced Intoxilyzer 5000. You may think that the newer version is much more accurate, and it will be tougher to fight the results. However, the results of the Intoxilyzer 9000 may depend on the officer's training, regularly scheduled maintenance, and proper upkeep. That is why you shouldn't admit guilt until you have all the facts.
Many people who blow a sample into the Intoxilyzer with results over the legal limit will think that the results mean they will get convicted for sure. But there is a lot more investigation that should take place before you ever agree to a guilty plea. What if the person doing the test messed up and contaminated your sample? What if the supervisors weren't making sure the machine got properly cleaned and regularly calibrated? You shouldn't have to lose your license as the result of a faulty test.
Talk to an experienced Atlanta DUI lawyer. Ask them about their training on breathalyzer devices and the Intoxilyzer, and what these tests mean for your case. Ask them how to fight your DUI charges, and the chemical test results. Make sure they will challenge the chemical test in your case.
There are things you may be doing that will give you a higher BAC test result when testing for alcohol. Things like using mouthwash or cough syrup may stay in your mouth and make your BAC seem higher than it is. Medical conditions and even environmental factors could also have an affect on your test results.
Atlanta DUI Attorney
If your breath test says you are over the limit, it does not have to mean you will lose your license. If the police department messed up your test results, or the police didn't give you the proper implied consent warning, you aren't getting the fair treatment you deserve. As an experienced Atlanta DUI lawyer, I will stand up for you, and fight to keep you out of jail. Call me today so we can discuss your case, and fight to keep your driver's license.