Breath Testing for DUI Arrests in Georgia
There are two kinds of breath tests generally used in DUI cases in Atlanta: the preliminary breath test and the chemical breath test usually done at the police station. The preliminary breath test (PBT) is usually a handheld device like the Alco-Sensor. Sometimes it is referred to as a breathalyzer test.
Preliminary Breath Test
The problem with a preliminary breath test sample is that it isn't used as admissible evidence in a DUI case. It is primarily used as an “investigative tool.” The police officer at the side of the road may ask you for a breath test in the Alco-Sensor, and if you blow at or near the limit, they may use that number to influence them when deciding to arrest you on suspicion of a DUI.
The limit for a per se DUI in Georgia depends on the driver. For commercial drivers, a BAC of 0.04% or higher is over the limit. For drivers under the age of 21, the limit is only 0.02%. For most everyone else, the limit is 0.08% BAC or higher.
The PBT is not mandatory. You have the right to refuse a field breath test. Many people worry that it may make them look like you have something to hide. But if you submit to the test, you run the risk of having an inaccurate result that shows you are over the limit when you are actually under the limit. On top of that, the police can still arrest you for a DUI when you give a field breath test that is under the legal limit.
Chemical Breath Test
At the time of your arrest for a DUI, the police may take you back to the police station where they'll ask for a breath or blood sample, (in some cases they will ask for a urine sample). Unlike the preliminary breath test, this is not voluntary. You may still chose to refuse a chemical test, but you may face consequences.
If you refuse a breath, blood or urine test, you may lose your license for a year. This is an administrative penalty for violating the state's implied consent laws. It may be hard for most people to face a year without a license and without even a limited driving permit.
If you do submit to a chemical breath test, you will likely be facing the Intoxilyzer. The 5000 series is being phased out in favor of the more modern 9000. You may not look forward to being tested with the Intoxilyzer 5000, as the technology is almost 20 years old. Of course, the company which manufactures the Intoxilyzer is not necessarily transparent as to the specifics of their machine, and how unreliable the older model can be. According to CMI, the manufacturer, the newer version is a more manageable size, has better functionality and portability.
Even though the newer machine is more technologically advanced, it is still possible that the machine could provide an incorrect result. Whether due to irregular or improper calibration, operator error, or something in a suspect's body other than alcohol that alerts to alcohol in the test.
Challenging Breath Test Results in Atlanta
If you were arrested for driving under the influence in the Atlanta area, and the police took a breath test showing a BAC over the limit, you may be facing a DUI conviction. However, a chemical test is not the only thing that will determine whether you end up with a conviction for driving under the influence. Your Atlanta DUI lawyer will investigate your case, and fight to keep your record clean. Call me today, so we can discuss exactly what happened in your case, and I will fight for you to keep your license to drive, and keep you out of jail.