Breath Test in Kentucky

After a 20-minute wait, you take the DUI breath test. You can’t believe the results. You were supposed to be the designated driver for your group’s tailgate party. What happened?

The officer states your result is in fact accurate and you are over the legal limit. Don’t panic. Clear your head and try to keep track of all the events around you, from several hours before the officer stopped you for a broken taillight until you gave us a call.

Our Northern Kentucky DUI attorneys can challenge your breath test

northern kentucky police officer doing a breath test

Above all, don’t ever let breath test results scare you into pleading guilty.

We have the experience and knowledge to help you when your breath test doesn’t seem right.

Understanding BAC Levels

The BAC or blood alcohol content reading of the breath test can measure how much alcohol is in your system at the time of the test. That amount is influenced by many factors including your weight, how much you have had to eat, and when you last ate.

Other factors including age, sex, prescription drugs, and medical conditions can affect the results of the test. Although these factors can affect the results, the amount of alcohol and rate of consumption are the primary factors to what your score can be. This simple chart can gauge where your BAC would be based on your weight and number of drinks that you have had.

Number of Drinks

Weight01234567891011
100 lbs.00.038.075.113.150.188.225.263.300.338.375.413
120 lbs.00.031.063.094.125.156.188.219.250.281.313.344
140 lbs.00.027.054.080.107.134.161.188.214.241.268.295
160 lbs.00.023.047.070.094.117.141.164.188.211.234.258
180 lbs.00.021.042.063.083.104.125.146.167.188.208.229
200 lbs.00.019.038.056.075.094.113.131.150.169.188.206
220 lbs.00.017.034.051.068.085.102.119.136.153.170.188
1 drink equals 1 ounce of 100-proof liquor, one five ounce glass of table wine or one 12-ounce bottle of regular beer.

How alcohol is processed

The metabolism of alcohol takes place in the liver. This takes time. For example, you can burn approximately ½ ounce of alcohol in an hour. The liver eliminates most alcohol but some is eliminated through the lungs, perspiration, and urine. Although it takes time to get alcohol out of your system, it can be measured 30 to 70 minutes after you have had a drink.

Breath test inaccuracies based on the person

In a perfect world, a breath test would be accurate, but many personal physical conditions skew the results of a breath test. If the results of the test don’t match how much you had to drink, it may be a physical condition personal to you that may have rendered an inaccurate reading on the machine.

Most personal physical conditions come from things that you inhale. One of the most basic items for those with asthma, is in inhaler, which can influence the results. Another in long list of possibilities is if you were in a car crash and inhaled fumes and dust from an airbag deployment. In addition, chewing gum, food, and beverages a few minutes before taking the test can also bias the results. Because there are so many variables, the test accuracy may be questionable.

Breath test inaccuracies based on administration of test

Not only can the person taking the test effect the outcome, but so can the person giving the test. Unless the officer is trained and certified in administering the test under Kentucky Administrative Code, it may not be accurate.

Even if the officer is certified, if the police officer does not follows proper procedure in administering the test, it will not be accurate. Kentucky requires that officers follow the proper procedure to substantiate compliance. There are several steps that an officer must follow for the test to be accurate and admissible. Some of those requirements include a 20-minute observation period before the test where the officer observes you to ensure that you do not bias the test by ingesting any food, or drink, or regurgitating (including burps).

After the test, the officer must also fill out the test ticket from the machine with the correct information, otherwise the results or whether they are even your results may be questionable.

Breath test inaccuracies based on equipment

The breath test machine, typically an Intoxillizer 5000, must be able to perform an accurate test. This is only accomplished through routine inspections as required by Kentucky Administrative Code. This includes checking the calibration each time the machine is used with a certified solution.

It also requires that a certified technician must analyze the machine at regular intervals along with performing maintenance to ensure the machine is in compliance. Along with the maintenance performed, the certified technician must produce records of the machine’s satisfactory results. The Commonwealth’s technician must also produce records that show the testing solution is accurate as well.

At Suhre & Associates, our Kentucky DUI attorneys will examine the records before and after your test to ensure there are no inconsistencies and if there are, use those inconsistencies as part of your DUI defense strategy.

The machine’s location may also be an issue as it must be either at the police station or a detention facility. If it is not, then equipment issues like tampering arise because the machine is not safely secured with limited accessibility.

Our experienced and knowledgeable Kentucky DUI attorneys know when to challenge a breath test

Although the prosecution may have what appears to be an above the limit breath test on you, it is not the end all be all of your case because it may be inaccurate. The science and mechanics behind how results are generated by the breath test machines is not absolute. There are several factors that can affect the result.

Regardless of what you breath test results say; we can defend you against your DUI charge.