DUI Breath Alcohol Tests
The results of breath alcohol testing Orange County are susceptible to attack by an experienced and specialized Orange County DUI attorney.
Many breath alcohol analysis systems fail to differentiate between the ethanol in alcohol and that of other compounds containing ethanol. Scientific study has shown that breathalyzers are not specifically designed for ethyl alcohol (a compound found in ethanol). These machines can, and often will, detect other compounds similar to that of ethyl alcohol and will identify them improperly as ethanol. Hence, a suspect with other compounds in their system can have an inaccurately high result in a breath test.
This potential problem is most common in the infrared analyzer that most agencies use currently. The reasoning is that many of these types of breath analyzers are not specifically designed to detect ethyl alcohol. They are designed to detect just a portion of ethyl alcohol known as the methyl group. The methyl group is absorbed by the infrared light in the analyzer and results in a positive blood-alcohol result. Any compound with the methyl molecular group can be identified by the infrared analyzer as ethanol.
There are over 1000 known compounds that contain the methyl molecular group. Many of those compounds, such as acetone, are commonly found on the human breath. Several scientific studies have found that many compounds containing the methyl group can be found on the breath at any time. The infrared breath analyzers detect these methyl groups and assume it to be ethanol.
Other common situations that can give false readings include:
- Diabetics patients
- People on weight reduction systems
- Long-term smokers can have higher blood-alcohol results since they have a greater amount of acetaldehyde in the lungs
- Absorbed inhalants such as paint fumes, glue fumes, or lacquer fumes
- Accidental absorbing of gasoline
- And even some bread products.
As defense DUI experts can testify, the design of these breathalyzers are also an area of concern. The on-board computer used by these machines makes assumptions on the individual being tested. The machine automatically assumes the suspect is of average physiological make up. This is a fatal flaw to the results. The individual being tested, more often than not, is not of average make up. Thus the test can be inaccurate.
For example, all breath-testing machines used by Orange County police depend on the assumption that the ratio between alcohol in the exhaled breath and alcohol in the blood is 1 to 2100. In fact, the machine is designed to produce a reading based on that assumption; the accuracy of the reading is directly tied to the accuracy of the presumption. The actual ratio in any given individual can vary from 1:1300 to 1:3000, or even more widely. Thus a person with a true blood-alcohol level of .08% but a breath-to-blood ratio of 1:1700 would have a .10% reading on an accurate breath testing instrument.
Unfortunately, these breath analyzers do not test individuals and their unique physiological make up. Each test will give a result based on an average person's breath and breathing patterns.
These scenarios are just an example of several flaws can be brought up by an experienced Orange County DUI lawyer.