Are Breathalyzers 100% Accurate?

23 Jan Are Breathalyzers 100% Accurate?

The flashing lights, the sirens, the officer at your car door.

You’re being pulled over for DWI in Brooklyn, and whether or not you’ve had any alcohol, it’s a terrifying experience.

If you’re like most people who are pulled over under suspicion of DWI, the police officer will request that you take a Breathalyzer test.

But how accurate are they, and what will happen to you if you consent?

What You Need to Know about Breathalyzer Tests

Breathalyzer is actually the name of a manufacturer that makes chemical breath tests.  The one the officer wants you to use might not be made by that company, but either way, you’re considered over the legal limit if the test shows you have a 0.08 percent or higher concentration of alcohol in your blood. That’s what Breathalyzer tests measure, but they measure it by counting the tiny particles of alcohol that come out when you exhale.

Breathalyzer tests are not 100 percent accurate. In fact, most law enforcement agencies—including those in Brooklyn—simply use them to gauge whether you’re impaired enough to fail an actual blood test (which they’ll get after they arrest you and book you into jail).

Sometimes police departments don’t properly train their officers in the use of chemical breath tests, which can lead to an erroneous reading. That can work in your favor or work against you.

Consenting to a Breathalyzer Test in New York

You always have the option of refusing a Breathalyzer test, but be aware that there are consequences if you do. You’ll face losing your license for a year and being hauled into the police station, so in many cases, you should just comply with the officer’s request.

However, if you decline to take a Breathalyzer, which you have the right to do, you’ll still have to take a blood test at the police station. Because time is the only thing that can lower the concentration of alcohol in your blood, some people choose to refuse the test and take their chances on a later blood test.

The most important thing, no matter what you decide to do about a chemical breath test, is that you talk to a lawyer as soon as you can. If police have made mistakes throughout the process, or if they’ve violated your rights at any point, your lawyer will be able to help you deal with the situation. Your attorney will also ensure that your rights are protected under New York law as soon as he’s made aware of what you’re going through.