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Should You Agree to a Breathalyzer Test

How They Work, Why Police Use Them, and What You Can Do

The Science Behind Breathalyzers

In Tennessee, drinking while driving is taken very seriously. If you have been drinking and get pulled over by police, you may be asked to take a breathalyzer test. When a person consumes alcohol, the liquid has to pass down the esophagus on the way down to the stomach and small intestine. Once there, the alcohol enters the bloodstream and starts to work its way through the rest of your body, and eventually reaches the lungs. When that happens, the alcohol will start to be expelled from your body in very tiny amounts whenever you breathe.

A man in a car taking a breathalyzer test with police officer watching

driver doing a breathalyzer test

Those tiny amounts can be detected and measured through a device called a breathalyzer. In Tennessee, the blood alcohol content or BAC that is considered proof of DUI for drivers 21 years of age and older is .08%. If you have been accused of DUI in Tennessee, you should contact experienced DUI defense attorney David L. Clarke of Murfreesboro, TN for help in your criminal case.

Breathalyzer Tests

Breathalyzer devices operate by having a person breathe into a tube, at which point the device can produce readouts of the person’s blood-alcohol level, their BAC. It should be noted here that law enforcement officers do not have to wait until an individual has gotten behind the wheel of a car to administer a breathalyzer test. An officer only has to suspect that you are intoxicated to justify administering a test.

Police favors breath tests in the field for a variety of reasons:

• The devices are portable and easy to use, making them extremely convenient tools to determine a person’s level of intoxication.

• Breathalyzer devices do not require a medical background or extensive training to operate. Even a rookie law enforcement officer can successfully operate a breathalyzer. Sometimes, the best tools remain the simplest to operate.

• Adaptability. Because a breathalyzer is portable and easy to use, it can easily be employed in most environments. While it may seem easy to imagine an officer administering a breathalyzer on the side of the road, they could just as easily use it while investigating a domestic disturbance or at a public venue like an outdoor concert at a park.

Should You Submit

In the event a law enforcement officer asks you to submit to a breathalyzer test, you do have the option to refuse. Doing so can be risky, however, as a refusal could be interpreted as “proof” of intoxication without actual test results. In the event that charges get filed against you, a refusal could also lead to larger fines and penalties. In Tennessee, there is the implied consent law, which means the privilege of driving a car comes with implied agreement to take a breathalyzer test. Refusing the test is a violation of the implied consent law.

Generally speaking, if you are 100% confident that your BAC is well below the .08%, you may want to take it to have proof your intoxication level was beneath the percentage and that can be helpful to future legal defenses. But if you are not sure, you can refuse but along with that refusal, can be added charges and penalties. Again another reason to get DUI defense attorney David L. Clarke to represent you. He will work diligently to help you avoid conviction for DUI as well as charges for violating the implied consent law.

If you take the test and the result is over the legal percentage, your DUI defense attorney can maybe still use the test result for your legal defense. Since a breathalyzer test cannot tell the difference between alcoholic drinks and food prepared with alcohol or medication that contained alcohol, he maybe able to argue that it was another substance that caused the readout. Mouth wash and denture adhesives also contain alcohol which could be used similarly.

Agreeing to a breathalyzer test or refusing one, both come with risks. Unfortunately whatever your decision, you may get charged with a DUI and other charges and you will want Murfreesboro DUI defense attorney David L. Clarke of the Clarke Law firm on your side.

Want to learn more? Contact The Clarke Law Firm today.