Many people don’t realize that breathalyzer test readings are not necessarily accurate. A breathalyzer is a machine. Machines have flaws. But before those flaws can be shared with a judge or a jury the OUI defense lawyer you hire needs to know how these machines work. If he or she does not know then how can the flaws in the process be explained to a jury. Think about it. Jurors are just normal people. Some work. Some do not. They come from all different backgrounds. Some are educated while others are not. If the primary issue in the DUI trial is to challenge the accuracy of the breathalyzer reading then your lawyer better be able to do this in a way that gives the jury pause before accepting the police officer’s recitation of his reading of the machine. It is also important to keep in mind that there are several types of breathalyzer machines in use. Your lawyer must know how each one works if you are going to be properly defended. This post briefly examines one of these machines, the Intoxilyzer, how it works and facts about false readings.
The Intoxilizer Machine in Massachusetts
This machine uses infrared technology to estimate the presence of alcohol in a gas sample. The sample is acquired by having the subject blow into a mouthpiece that is attached to a tube running into the machine. Alcohol molecules, if present in the sample enter the chamber and react with infrared radiation sending a reading that is calculated in accordance with the amount of infrared radiation that is absorbed. The calculations are based on generally accepted partition ratios of 2,100 to 1. That is, for every one molecule of alcohol in your breath sample there are 2,100 such molecules in your blood. In order for this evidence to be presented to a jury the prosecution must put an expert on the stand. This someone who not only administers the test but is able to explain how the machine works. As a practical matter there are very few of these people in Massachusetts and all of them, if being honest will admit that there are several flaws with this machine.
What Are the Flaws With the Intoxilyzer Machine in Massachusetts?
The intoxilyzer machine cannot distinguish between mouth alcohol and blood alcohol. That is, if there is some residual alcohol in your mouth the reading will be higher than what your blood alcohol truly is. Mouthwash or toothpaste give high false readings as do certain types of chewing gum and breath mints. Certain medications give higher readings. People with acid reflux, GERD, tend to have intoxilyzer readings that are high and not reflective of actual blood alcohol. Improper administration of the test can result in a false positive reading. This often occurs when the police officer tells you to keep blowing. The test itself requires only 1.1 liters of breath to establish an admissible reading. Most people can provide samples three or four times that large. The more you blow the greater the chance of getting a higher reading. There are many more factors that show how these tests can be inaccurate. This is something you want your lawyer to point out to a jury. Our office has the ability to do that. Call us now to get started with your Massachusetts OUI defense.