Who Is Allowed To Administer The Breathalyzer Test At The Police Station?

Police officers have to go through certification training to administer the Draeger, and every year they have to renew the certificate that allows them to do it. There is no specific type of police officer who would have to do it, although they would just have to be trained and certified in administering the test in order to do it.

What Is The Purpose Of The Preliminary Or Portable Breath Test And When Is That Used?

The portable breath test would generally be used on the side of the road. It is an instrument the officer would use to gather probable cause, although the results of the portable breath tests would not admissible in a court in Alabama other than for the officer to testify that he gave one and it helped him gather probable cause. The judge or jury would be able to make an inference that the person must have blown over a 0.08 or higher if the officer was talking about it, although the actual results would not be admissible in court.

Do These Tests Happen At The Police Station Once Someone Had Been Put Under Arrest?

Yes.

How Does The Breathalyzer Machine Measure The Alcohol In A Person’s System?

The breathalyzer machine measures the alcohol in the person’s system through gas chromatography, which is a complicated process but it really does a good job for the most part and we still request a full analysis of what goes into each and every test of our clients. The client would receive a certificate of breath analysis which would be a sheet of paper basically stating what they blew and certifying that there was a 20-minute deprivation period and things of that nature, although it would not really show what went into the tests.

We are able to request the full report from the Department of Forensic Sciences regarding when the machine was turned on and whether it was calibrated properly so that we could then really see what happened with each of the two breath samples that were taken from our client. If something looked suspicious then we, as lawyers, could have our experts dig deeper into a specific breath test and tell us whether there was any potential that something went wrong with it.

Other Than Calibration Errors, What Other Errors Might Give A Misreading?

All kinds of things could happen, so from the operator’s standpoint, they try to make the Draeger dummy-proof. The operator would need to put in their ID code and they would not be able to go on to the next step without certifying that they had run the machine to do a calibration. They cannot turn it off or print the report without certifying they had run a second calibration. The operator might make an error in how they requested the person to blow into the machine or they might count something as a refusal which was not actually a refusal, or those types of things.

What Would Be A Different Type Of Refusal?

Someone could make a verbal refusal and just say they would not blow, although sometimes we have clients who tell us they really attempted to blow into the machine but did not get a reading, so the officer counted it as a refusal and they felt like it should not have been counted as a refusal because they had actually tried.

What Are Immediate And Long-Term Effects Of Refusing A Breathalyzer Test?

The immediate effect would be that the person’s license would be set to be suspended. If it was their first time refusing a test, then the license would be suspended for 90 days. It would be set to be suspended 45 days after they were arrested. They would have to request an administrative hearing to try to petition for a judicial review and to try to get their suspension time reduced if they had refused.

Long term effects of a refusal could include an administrative contact suspension listed on the person’s driving history forever, unless they did something to combat it. Often, even on cases where the person’s DUI got dismissed, things could happen with their insurance if they did not take the proper action to try to remove the administrative suspension from their license, because their insurance company could raise the rates or drop the person if they saw they had an administrative suspension on their license.

What Are Some Common Misconceptions About The Breathalyzer Test?

The most common misconception is that refusing the breathalyzer on the side of the road would decide the license suspension, whereas that would be the one the person could refuse without worry of their driver’s license being suspended although if the person had gotten to that point, then in all likelihood they would probably be arrested for a DUI anyway and then they would have to make the decision to take the breathalyzer or refuse it at the police station.

What Happens If Someone Over 21 Blew Into The Breathalyzer And It Showed A BAC Of Less Than 0.08?

Someone who blew less than 0.08, could still be charged with DUI and they could be charged under a subsection regarding the combined influence of alcohol and a controlled substance, so they could then be charged with just a controlled substance or any substance. People have been charged with DUI even after blowing under 0.08, although that is not common. The other instance is that someone who was under 21, would only have to blow at 0.02 for them to be charged with a DUI.

For more information on Standardized Breath Test, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by calling (205) 871-9990 today.

Get your questions answered - call us for your free, 20 min phone consultation (205) 871-9990