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Breath Test

Law enforcement commonly use breathalyzers or breath analysis to identify drunk drivers. However, you might be unaware that breathalyzers malfunction often and police officers don’t always conduct regular maintence on the equipment. This means you could get a false positive even if you haven’t had a single drink.

On the legal end, submitting or refusing a breath test has its pros and cons. Refusing could hurt the prosecutor’s case, but your license could be suspended as a result. If you or someone you know has submitted or refused to a breathalyzer or intoxilyzer test, then it’s imperative you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney.

DUI Attorney for Breathalyzers in West Palm Beach, Florida

Breath analysis isn’t a reliable piece of evidence and with experienced legal counsel you can discredit the prosecution’s breathalyzer results. To hire a skilled defense lawyer with experience in DUI, contact the attorneys at Meltzer & Bell, P.A.. We have the tools and resources you need to fight your charges.

Contact Meltzer & Bell, P.A. today at (561) 557-8686 to schedule your first consultation free. Our defense lawyers will do everything in our power to assist you and fight your charges. Meltzer & Bell, P.A. practices throughout the greater Palm Beach county area including West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Delray Beach, Jupiter and Lake Worth.

Overview of Breath Analysis in FL


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How Do Breathalyzers Work and Measure BAC?

Law enforcement use intoxilyzers and breathalyzers to conduct breath analysis on drunk drivers. These tests measure your blood alcohol concentration also known as BAC. If you have a BAC of .08 or higher, then they can lawfully arrest you with DUI.

Breathalyzers are made up of two glass vials which contain a chemical reaction mixture and a system of photocells connected to a meter. Blowing into the instrument inebriated will result in the meter changing from a reddish-orange to a mixture of green. Police officers will then compare the reacted mixture with a control unreacted mixture to see if you’re drunk.

Intoxilyzers are similar, but function a little differently. They rely on infrared (IR) spectroscopy to determine your BAC level, which is how molecules absorb IR light. The test can identify ethanol by reading how the molecule’s wavelengths bonds react to IR light. It uses an IR beam through a chamber which focuses on a spinning filter wheel. The beam then passes through a filter wheel and is converted into an electrical pulse. That pulse is relayed through a microprocessor, which then translates that information into the BAC level.


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Are Breathalyzers Accurate?

Law enforcement depend on breathalyzers to charge people with DUI. Unfortunately, the instrument isn’t foolproof. Many have reported breathalyzers and intoxilyzers yielding inaccurate results. Results can be easily influenced by outside factors such as rainy roads as well as circumstantial factors such as being on a diet.

Listed below are some common issues that can occur during a breath test.

  • Electromagnetic interference from other devices such as cellphone towers;
  • Officer read the results incorrectly;
  • You have residual alcohol in your mouth;
  • You’re on a diet;
  • Your metabolism is slow;
  • The instrument hasn’t been calibrated;
  • You belched, vomited or hiccupped before the test;
  • The temperature of your breath;
  • You’re a diabetic;
  • You took cold medicine or a prescription drug before driving;
  • You have acid reflux;
  • The officer didn’t follow the proper protocol; or
  • You were around lacquer, paint, cleaning solvents or other alcohols

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Should I Refuse Breath Tests During a DUI Stop in Florida?

Attorneys commonly get asked whether someone should submit or refuse a breathalyzer test during a DUI stop. The answer is more complicated than you may think. Submitting to a breathalyzer test will give the prosecution more ammunition to convict you but refusing also comes with its own consequences.

In Florida, refusing to submit to a DUI chemical test is a violation of implied consent laws. These laws state if you use public roads in Florida, then you are implicitly agreeing to submit to a breath, blood or urine test. Refusing to comply with testing will result in your license being administratively suspended for up to one year. A second refusal will result in an 18-month suspension term.

An administrative license suspension isn’t the same as a criminal one. It’s conducted by the Florida Department for Motor Vehicles and Highway Safety (DHSMV). You can contest it if you file for a hearing within ten days of receiving your suspension notice. It’s important to note that submitting to DUI testing and failing will also result in a 6-month administrative license suspension.

So, refusing to submit will result in suspension term. However, if you do submit and fail the test you will automatically be charged with DUI. The prosecution will now have concrete scientific evidence of your inebriation and a conviction is much more likely. In the end, the cost of a trial is much cheaper and less stressful than a suspension. That is why most attorneys would recommend you refuse testing if you’ve been pulled over for DUI.


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Additional Resources

Suspension Laws – Visit the official website for the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV). Access the site to learn more about suspension laws, hardship licenses, DUI penalties and consequences for repeat offenders.

Florida DUI Laws – Visit the official website for Online Sunshine, which is a collection of state laws and legislation. Access the site to find more information on DUI penalties, testing refusals, and diversion programs for offenders.


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Breathalyzer Experienced Attorney in Palm Beach County, FL

If you or someone you know has been charged with DUI, then it’s important you gain experienced legal counsel. Do what’s best for your future and contact Meltzer & Bell, P.A.. Our defense lawyers understand the full ramifications of DUI and the legal options that could reduce or dismiss your charges entirely.

Pick up the phone and call (561) 557-8686 to schedule your first appointment for free. The attorneys at Meltzer & Bell, P.A. represent people throughout the West Palm Beach area including Boca Raton, Delray Beach and Jupiter.


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