Breathalyzers in a DUI Arrest
A breathalyzer is an instrument used by law enforcement to determine the amount of alcohol (Blood Alcohol Content) in an individual’s system that is suspected of driving under the influence. They are hand-held battery operated devices and are not much larger than a deck of cards. Officers rely on breathalyzers for a quick result in determining if there will be a DUI arrest made.
Since the chemical composition of alcohol does not change within the body, breathalyzers are able to determine the blood alcohol content of an individual. Alcohol enters the bloodstream directly by being absorbed by the stomach and intestines. Once in the bloodstream, the alcohol travels throughout the body, including the lungs. In the lungs it mixes with exhaled air, so when the individual exhales a fixed amount of their breath into the device it is able to calculate the BAC of the individual. It is illegal to operate a motor vehicle if your blood alcohol content is 0.08 percent or greater.
The way a breathalyzer identifies alcohol is dependent on the way it was designed. Below are the most common ways a breathalyzer works.
They measure the absorption level of the light on different molecules.
The breath passes through a chemical solution. The change in the color of the solution is relative to the amount of alcohol in the breath and therefore, the amount of alcohol in the individual.
When these sensors are exposed to alcohol molecules, they create electrons and protons that travel down a wire. At the end of the wire, a microchip measures the electrical current in the wire to calculate the blood alcohol content of the individual.
A skilled Orange County DUI Attorney knows how to challenge the findings of a breathalyzer.