View Full Version : Breathalayzer: What are your rights?
10-03-2001, 04:01 PM
I am posting this to Great Debates because people may have differing opinions on the subject; moderators, please feel free to move if necessary.
I have a relative who was stopped by the police in a Small Town in Georgia(I'm not kidding!), and was charged with DUI after failing a breath test. He questions the legality of the charge because, he says, that he was made to blow repeatedly into the instrument until the police got a reading they liked (.081).
Now, if he's guilty, he's guilty; but I believe that the law should have to work to prove his guilt. Any opinions, or sites you can point me to that deal in breathalayzer case law?
10-03-2001, 04:24 PM
I know at least in PA, the cop could take a breathalyzer, but it wasn't admissable in court, because it wasn't accurate. Blood tests were the only accurate way to determine BAC (case I sat on jury for even had a guy come in to say those weren't accurate) Don't know about other states.
TO begin with AtomicDog, someone charged with a crime really needs to get a lawyer licensed in that jurisdiction. I'll bet Georgia has quite a number of lawyers available who are familiar with such charges.
Next, it appears that Georgia uses an Intoxilyzer Model 5000 (http://www.ganet.org/rules/index.cgi?base=92/3/06), not a breathalyzer. The former is newer and likely more sophisticated.
The next important question is this:
He questions the legality of the charge because, he says, that he was made to blow repeatedly into the instrument until the police got a reading they liked (.081).
11) Except as forbidden by law, a report of every evidential breath test, excluding initial alcohol-screening tests, shall be made by the individual performing such tests.
To which, we learn that a record must be kept of results.
will cause each instrument used in the administration of breath tests to be checked periodically for calibration and operation and a record of the results of all such checks to be maintained;
So, if your relative took the test an unusual number of times, such information would be easliy attained.
I don't know what you mean by "made to blow repeatedly". It might mean nothing, as it is likely that a valid breath test requires the person tested to submit more than one breath sample.
Should you feel like surfing, I'll bet you can find many defense lawyer sites about DUI; I'll bet some of it will even have information about law in Georgia.
10-03-2001, 05:09 PM
I know nothing about the law in Georgia, and agree with Robb that your relative should contact a Georgia lawyer.
However, I do know that breath analyzer machines need a breath sample of a certain size to give an accurate reading. Sometimes a person doesn't blow hard enough, or long enough, for the machine to be able to work. If that's what happened here, your relative may have been left with the impression that they were trying for a certain reading, while the police officers may say that your relative's first few blows weren't sufficient for the machine to work.
All of which emphasises the importance of getting a good lawyer for your relative, who can review the evidence and see if there's a defence available.
10-03-2001, 05:13 PM
I don't know how the Intoxilizer works, but certain breathalyzers require a certain amount of air to be blown in. If he was providing small little puffs of air, it may not have been enough to register.
Turbo Dog, I'll assume that Intoxilyzers in Georgia are structurally similar to Intoxilyzers I am familiar with. In those instruments, you are right that it takes a certain pressure of breath to provide a valid sample. Also, the subject must provide a sample for a long enough period of time to receive a valid reading.
In my jurisdiction there must be two tests seperated by at least 15 minutes. Where readings vary the lowest is deemed to be the correct one. It sounds more like he wasn't blowing hard enough though. The prosecution often mentions it as a sign of impairment or awareness of intoxication.
10-03-2001, 07:52 PM
You have the legal right to hold your breath as long as you want.
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