What Is the Difference Between a Breathalyzer and a Blood Test

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You had a few drinks and got pulled over and the police officer asked you to blow into the breathalyzer test. It showed that you were above the legal limit and you got arrested. Later, you got a blood sample test and it showed a high amount as well. But, what if you weren’t drinking and any of these tests showed that you did? Are the results of these tests accurate?

No matter your situation, being arrested for a DUI is a risky thing that can bring serious consequences. Trying to prove that you didn’t drink, or were below the legal limit is a challenge you can’t complete by yourself. If you were arrested for DUI make sure to seek legal help from a Portland DUI attorney as soon as you can.

Breathalyzer vs. Blood Test Accuracy

When a police officer stops you, and you show signs of impairment, they will ask you to step out of the vehicle to do a field sobriety test or do a breathalyzer test. Also, if you get arrested, you will be expected to take a blood test that will accurately show the amount of alcohol in your system.

The blood test is done with a blood draw.  Commonly, many people are not fans of this, but for an accurate BAC, the blood test is a much better option. Some people fear that the blood test may show exactly how much they drank, which may and will put them in an unwanted situation (penalties, driver’s license suspension, and even jail).

The breathalyzer test simply requires a sample of your breath. You will hold the machine and blow in it. The breathalyzer test measures the amount of alcohol in your breath and not your blood. Sometimes people who follow certain diets like Keto or used mouthwash may have a problem with this test since it could show the presence of alcohol in their breath even if they didn’t consume alcohol.

The breathalyzer measures the oxidation of the alcohol in your breath, but under Henry’s Law, the alcohol in your breath can give a precise indication of the alcohol in your blood, since alcohol dissolved in your blood is proportionate to the alcohol in your breath.

False Sobriety Test Results 

Even though breathalyzer devices are well maintained and give precise results, there is still a small chance of a mistake. The false results can appear if you have a certain illness such as diabetes, are on a certain diet, or using a mouthwash. These things can show high amounts of alcohol in your system when you didn’t even drink. This can lead to serious consequences, such as a DUI charge on your driving record, penalties, or even jail time.

This is why it is important to insist on a blood sample test, especially if you didn’t drink at all. The blood test measures the alcohol concentration or content in your blood and can be more accurate than the breathalyzer because it can rarely give false positives. Also, the breathalyzer device should be regularly calibrated and maintained so it can give accurate results. However it can happen that the device was not calibrated, so the false results can easily show.

The blood sample test might give inaccurate results as well. Trained professionals will draw a blood sample and will measure the amount of alcohol in your system. The best BAC reading is done exactly at the moment when you were pulled over, or possibly after the arrest. If it is done later, the alcohol in your system will increase (it happens once you stop drinking).

A false-positive test can affect your freedom and your driver’s privileges, will remain on your driver’s record, and stop you from living your life normally. Think of the driver’s license suspension; it can go from three months to a year (to a lifetime suspension, depending on various factors). Having a DUI conviction can prevent you from enrolling in the college you want, lose your job, be unable to rent a home where you want, and have many other consequences.

Contact a Portland DUI Lawyer

Trilogy Law Group has experience with DUI charges (first-time, second-time, etc.) and we know how to approach every case. Let us review your case and prepare your defense. We will be there to advise you and represent you in court; we’ll do our best to help you get a better outcome. Call our office today and schedule your first consultation with our attorneys.

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