Damico & Stockstill, Attorneys at Law

Things to know before you submit to a Breathalyzer test

If you were driving home after a night on the town with friends and a police officer stopped you on suspicion of intoxication, you might not be the least bit worried if you knew you only had imbibed a single alcoholic beverage. In fact, if you enjoyed your beverage early in the evening then spent the next several hours eating, drinking water and perhaps, coffee, and simply hanging out and having a good time, you'd likely be even less concerned about a minor traffic stop.

Once you learn more about Breathalyzer tests, you might change your opinion. Such tests often produce inaccurate results. When it comes to drunk driving charges, much depends on the officer's word against yours. If you submit to a Breathalyzer, the results may greatly impact the ultimate outcome of your situation. What if the results are wrong? There are several things you can do to protect your rights when a police officer suspects you of drunk driving.

First things first: Get the facts

You do not have to take a Breathalyzer test upon request. However, keep in mind that in Louisiana you will incur administrative penalties for your refusal under implied consent laws. You can read more about this and other Breathalyzer information in the following list of facts:

  • When you obtained a driver's license in this state, you agreed to take any breath test, blood or urine test a police officer lawfully requests.
  • Studies show Breathalyzers produce results at a 50 percent margin of error, meaning if you blow a .01, your true blood alcohol content may be anything from .05 to .15. As percentages increase, this can greatly impact the outcome of your situation!
  • Only those certified to administer Breathalyzer tests should do so. Otherwise, results may be inaccurate.
  • Although marketers of breath test devices promote their products as scientifically accurate and fair, such is often not the case.

If a device is not properly calibrated beforehand, if you consumed a mouthwash, medication or other product that contains alcohol as an ingredient, or if you have certain health conditions, such as diabetes, your Breathalyzer test results may be skewed. Keeping in mind that refusing to take the test may incur penalties, such as driver license suspension, one of the swiftest and best means to protect your rights is to request immediate legal representation at the scene.

An experienced criminal law attorney knows the ins and outs of the system and can quickly assess a particular situation to provide guidance as to what the best course of action may be.

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Damico & Stockstill, Attorneys at Law

8048 One Calais Avenue | Suite A | Baton Rouge, LA 70809-3483 | Phone: 225-250-1812 | Fax: 225-769-0195 | Baton Rouge Law Office Map