Breath Testing

Implied consent laws in East Lyme and throughout Connecticut mean that refusing a breath test when prompted by the police is against the law. However, there are pros and cons to submitting to a breathalyzer. On this page, we explore the breath test and how to defend yourself against a failed test.


If driving in East Lyme, you may be pulled over if a police officer suspects that you have been driving under the influence. In this case, the police may request that you submit to breath testing so the police officer may obtain a blood alcohol content (BAC) reading. This is done to strengthen the state’s case against you and prove that you were driving under the influence.

This device works by a person blowing their breath through a tube attached to a device that reads the air molecules as they pass through the machine. It is important to remember that one never needs to partake in a breathalyzer and is always free to abstain. You can learn more about this test on this page.

Breath Testing Science

Breath testing devices are rooted in science called Henry’s Law, which is defined as the “mass of gas that dissolves in a definite volume of liquid which is directly proportional to the pressure of the gas provided that the gas doesn’t react with the solvent.” Simply put, if a liquid and gas are put into a confined space, Henry’s Law says that the liquid and gas will share the same proportional tendencies.

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A common way to view this is that in a vial of blood, the air above the blood will have the same amount of alcohol in it as the blood itself. Henry’s ratio is 2100:1, meaning the concentration of blood is 2100 times greater than the air. However, this constantly fluctuates, depending on the person’s physical makeup, diet, and even body temperature. This can cause up to .03.% in discrepancy, which is high considering that the BAC limit in Fairfield is .08%.

These machines are delicate and require a person trained in using them to properly administer the tests. Issues that arise typically deal with maintenance and calibration of the device, as well as what is known as an accurate reading. An accurate reading is when there are two satisfactorily done tests, each reading within .02% of each other. Further, the person cannot burp, vomit, smoke, or do anything else prior to the test that may interfere with a clear breathing reading.

In Connecticut, there is the law of implied consent. This law means that anyone who drives on a public road in Connecticut has implicitly agreed to breath testing when requested. Failure to do so will result, like a failure of the test itself, in a suspension of the driver’s license issued by the DMV. However, refusing may deprive the state of evidence needed in the criminal proceeding, and therefore is a discretionary decision made by the person at the time of the BAC request. A lawyer can also help you make this decision.

If you have been asked to submit to breath testing and have failed or refused, it is important that you have adequate counsel representing your interests. To speak with an East Lyme DUI defense lawyer, contact Lady DUI today.

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