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Tag Archives: breath testing

A Marijuana Breath Testing Device?

Breath testing devices are commonly used by police officers in their pursuit to enforce Driving Under the Influence (DUI/DWI/OUI, etc.) laws across the nation. These devices not only detect the presence of ethanol, but also attempt to quantify the amount of alcohol in one’s blood. Every state has adopted a per se limit of .08 percent of alcohol in the person’s blood. This means that if a person has a blood alcohol level (breath tests are also commonly used to ... Read More »

The Unseen Risks of “One for the Road”

One evening at a restaurant, Martha shares a bottle of wine with a friend.  She nurses one glass over a one-hour dinner.  Nearing the end, another glass is poured from the bottle and she finishes this.  The two friends then order an after-dinner drink.  Noting the time, Martha quickly finishes the drink and leaves.  She is stopped by the police one block from the restaurant.  After questioning and field sobriety tests, she is taken to a police station and tested on a breathalyzer.  The machine shows ... Read More »

Try getting past this one!

Marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamines are just a few of the many different controlled substances that Swedish researchers have found can be detected by a commercially available breathing test device.  A control group of 47 individuals, who had taken a variety of drugs less than 24 hours prior, were tested to check the accuracy of the device. The test successfully detected drugs in 87% of the people. The device would allow police officers to test suspected drug users and DUI ... Read More »

Prosecutors Attempt to Limit Defenses

What started as a seemingly routine and innocuous motion by the prosecutors in the Tucson City Court has now grown into a major breath-testing battle which will be played out in the Arizona Supreme Court and will affect the admissibility of every breath test in Arizona. Estimated breath test results are subject to many variables–which is why they are “estimates” and not hard numbers. Variables can be divided into two major categories: Machine Variables and Human Variables. Machine Variables are ... Read More »

Rising Blood Alcohol Levels in DUI Cases

It is illegal to have a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or greater while driving a vehicle. It is not illegal to have a BAC of .08% or greater while blowing into a breathalyzer after a DI arrest at a police station. In other words, just because a breath test shows a level of, say, .09%, it does not mean that the blood alcohol level when the suspect was driving an hour earlier was the same .09%. So what was the blood alcohol level ... Read More »

How do machines test for alcohol in breath?

Although three types of breath-testing estimators are approved for use in Arizona, the police only use one–the Intoxilyzer 8000© made by CMI, Incorporated, in Owensboro, Kentucky. The Intoxilyzer 8000 uses Infrared Spectroscopy to analyze breath to create and estimated breath alcohol content. It does this by first projecting infrared (IR) light through a sample chamber at two IR detectors with only ambient air in the chamber. It measures the amount of IR light that strikes the detectors and sets up ... Read More »

Are Asthmatics Criminally Punished for Inability to Provide a Breath Sample?

Almost all states now have increased penalties for refusing to submit to blood-alcohol testing, usually involving added jail time and/or longer license suspensions. A few states even make refusing a separate and distinct crime. A large percentage of those charged with “refusing” are innocent. One of the most common refusals is the failure to breathe hard enough to produce a breath sample. The various breath machines all require the suspect to breath through a narrow breath tube hard enough to ... Read More »