Breaking down the Breathalyzer process

Alright, so you probably already know a lot about the breathalyzer (BT) or at least hear about it all the time. However, this post is to clarify what the machine really is and how the process really works.

At most police stations the BT machine is usually in a separate room from the booking room. When you get brought back to the police station they will usually “book” you. Essentially, the police do things like take down your information, document your belongings, and make sure you are not suicidal amongst other things. The majority of police stations have video so don’t be rude and try your best to not look drunk.
After the police take down your personal information, they will ask if you consent to a breathalyzer test. At this point, they will give you a form to sign to indicate whether you consent to or refuse the breathalyzer.

If you consent to a breathalyzer you will usually be brought into a second room that also has video recording. The breathalyzer machine itself is stationary and can’t be moved around. There are three major parts: the machine itself, a tube that comes out from the machine for you the blow into, and finally a small printer resting above the machine. When most people think of breathalyzers they think of the portable ones that you can buy online or police have with them on the side of the road. Portable breathalyzers are different than the actual breathalyzer machine. Courts have ruled portable breathalyzers are unreliable, one of the reasons being that they rely on fuel cell technology. The actual breathalyzer machines that can be used by the prosecution are the ones at the police station.

Before the test begins the certified operator who is usually a police officer needs to enter a lot of information. There are several prompts that the officer needs to respond to and it usually takes about 15-20 minutes to complete. Once all the information is entered and the machine is warmed up, the subject is asked to blow into the machine for about 5 seconds until the machine beeps. Each subject will be asked to give two breath samples. After the second sample is given the test is over.

If you fail or refuse the breath test your license will be suspended. If you find yourself ever in this situation, you should refuse the breathalyzer and contact an attorney right away.…-a0188847512

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. No doubt the 5th Amendment Right against self-incrimination has been abridged. And, since the breathalyzer does not actually measure BAC and, instead, relies on a conversion formula based upon the “average person,” rather than the individual person, it is almost hopelessly inaccurate. At best, it is within .03% — which, unfortunately, results in convictions when the breathalyzer converts a .08% BAC into a .11% BAC.

    Here’s an article that addresses the breathalyzer.

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