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Challenging breath test results

On Behalf of | Apr 16, 2021 | DUI Charges

Past posts on this blog touched upon the fact that your measured blood-alcohol content may not necessarily be an actual reflection of your level of intoxication. Like most people in California, you may assume that having a breath test with results greater than .08 likely results in an automatic conviction for drunk driving.

Such is the assumption held by many of those that come to see us here at Herbert Weston & Tanya Weston Criminal Lawyers. However, like them, you will likely find some measure of comfort in knowing that there are grounds on which to challenge the result of a breath test.

Following the pathway of alcohol in the body

Such a challenge requires that you understand the journey alcohol takes in your body after ingestion. The actual type of alcohol you consume when you drink is ethanol. Being a water-soluble compound, ethanol can pass through the membranes of the organs of your gastrointestinal tract through passive diffusion. This allows it to enter into the bloodstream, where the veins then carry it throughout your body and (eventually) to your lungs.

In your lungs, ethanol comes in contact with oxygen, causing a portion of it to vaporize. You then expel this gaseous alcohol as your breath. The process continues, with the level of alcohol on your breath remaining in equilibrium with that in your blood.

Understanding the mechanics of breath testing devices

According to the Alcohol Pharmacology Education Partnership, breath testing devices assume a status blood-to-breath ratio of 2100:1 when making measurements. In reality, however, your actual ratio can vary between 1500:1 to 3000:1. This wide range contributes to breath testing devices having a vast margin of error (as high as 50%, according to some experts).

You can find more information on dealing with drunk driving charges by continuing to explore our site.