Are Breathalyzers Accurate?

Breathalyzers are one of the primary instruments used by both police officers and law enforcement officials to determine if someone is driving while they are under the influence of alcohol. During the winter, or more precisely, the holiday season, there is a higher need for law enforcement officials to monitor the roads and make sure that people are not driving while they are drunk.


The holiday season is a great time to celebrate and when we celebrate we usually like to drink champagne, wine, beer, and other alcoholic beverages. Unfortunately, with the increased amount of drinking alcohol during the holidays, there are a considerable number of more people driving while they are drunk. Police officers will typically set up “DUI checkpoints” to check every driver who is driving on a particular road with a breathalyzer in order to prevent tragic accidents from happening.

While catching people who are driving under the influence of alcohol is something police focus on, and we should definitely have some way of making sure that accidents caused by idiotic drunk drivers do not occur. We should take a look at the accuracy of breathalyzers, the same way the best OWI attorneys and DUI firms do prior to trial. Breathalyzers are a good initial measure to determine if someone has been drinking, but they are not an accurate measure of a person’s blood alcohol content (BAC) or exactly how drunk they are. A Breathalyzer measures how much alcohol is on someone’s breath, and is, therefore, not a significant scientific measure for putting someone behind bars.

Let us at this example to help make things a little clearer: Let’s say you are attending a party with friends and family. Everyone is drinking champagne, wine, beer, and liquor, but you are avoiding alcoholic beverages because you are the designated driver for the night. You pick up a drink that you think is your water or your soda water, but it is Uncle Bill’s cup of vodka. You spit it out before swallowing any because it is disgusting, and you do not want to have any alcohol since you are about to drive your family home. You get in the car, and you are not drunk at all. You get stopped at the checkpoint, and you are not nervous at all because you have been very good, and you have had zero alcohol at any point during the night. Unfortunately because of that vodka that made it into your mouth, but was never swallowed, you could potentially fail a Breathalyzer test. Although it is not likely, it is still possible. Now you have to hire an experienced drunk driving attorney in order to get yourself out of trouble.  Obviously this is not a frequent occurrence, or, something that you would expect to ever happen, but this situation as well as many others that are just as innocent do happen to people. Because of instances like this, it is important that you make the cops perform a more accurate scientific measure by testing your blood to determine your actual BAC level.

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