Windsor law enforcement commonly uses breath testing machines as a tool to test for the presence of alcohol on a person’s breath after a DUI arrest. When the police use a breathalyzer device, they will instruct the subject to blow into the machine through a mouthpiece which causes the air to travel through tiny infrared lights.
Breath Test Science
The breath analysis is based upon a 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.” In other words,if a gas and a liquid are confined in a closed space, the concentration of gas in the air above the liquid is proportional to the gas dissolved in liquid.
Think of blood in a closed container that contains alcohol. The alcohol will evaporate until the concentration in the air above the liquid is equal to that in the liquid. This is known as Henry’s constant. The ratio given to that of the blood in the human body to be used in accordance with this law is 2100:1. The concentration of alcohol in the average person’s blood is approximately 2100 times as great as the concentration in the air with it.
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Issues With Breathalyzers
The problem with this is that there is no normal amount of blood/air constant because every person’s body weight, frame, and physical makeup is unique. Scientists have determined that there can be up to a 0.03% error or more with each breathalyzer due to the normal ratio being used as a constant in the breathalyzer. This could have a huge impact on breath test results and subsequent DUI charges.
Not only can a person’s body type influence the results of the breathalyzer, but a person’s body temperature can as well. Fluctuations in body temperature could cause inaccurate results. Even something like taking a heavy dose of aspirin can cause the body temperature to be reduced and potentially alter the breathalyzer results. Medical problems such as taking certain medications or having an illness can all be possible defenses to the breathalyzer results.
There are other factors that can affect the reliability of breathalyzer results, most commonly, poor maintenance or improper calibration of the breathalyzer device. Improper calibration of the device makes the test unreliable and can cause the entire test to be thrown out as evidence.
In order for the test results to be admissible in a court case, there are general guidelines that law enforcement must follow when it comes to their breathalyzer devices. The breathalyzer must be properly maintained and checked for accuracy at consistent intervals, and the person administering the breath test must be certified to use the device and administer the device in accordance with breathalyzer training. The breathalyzer must also be able to capture at least two measurements that are within .02 of each other to be considered reliable results.
Under Connecticut law, each person who drives on the road is considered to have implicitly consented to a breath test that tests blood alcohol concentration under the law. This is the implied consent law in Connecticut. However, this does not mean that the police can physically force you to take a breath test. You can decline and face the consequences for refusing to take the test, such as automatic license suspension, though the consequences of taking the breath test and having that evidence used against you in a criminal case may be far greater.
A good attorney will be able to analyze a Windsor DUI case where there are breathalyzer results or a breathalyzer refusal and advise you on what defenses you may have. If you have been arrested for a DUI in Windsor, call Lady DUI to find out more.