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How does a Breathalyzer test device work?

Posted on in OWI

If you were arrested for drunk driving, at some point during your arrest process, police probably administered a Breathalyzer test. The results of this test may have even produced a key piece of evidence in your criminal defense lawsuit, and the prosecution may try to use this evidence against you to convict you of drunk driving. As such, you might want to understand a little more about how Breathalyzer tests work.

The Breathalyzer test machine comes in numerous forms and variety. "Breathalyzer" is a brand name, but other companies may offer breath testing devices as well. Generally, all of these devices work the same, and they are all subject to rending completely inaccurate test results. As such, even if your breath test showed you had a high blood alcohol content (BAC), it doesn't necessarily mean that you will ultimately be convicted.

Breathalyzers analyze the percentage concentration of alcohol in your blood by registering how much alcohol is dissolved into your breath. A scientific testing methodology known as infrared spectroscopic analysis is used to analyze your breath like this. The captured alcohol within your breath is detected because it absorbs light waves that belong to a specific frequency. The more of these lightwaves the are captured, the higher score of drunkenness the Breathalyzer will give you.

As you can imagine, just because someone blew a .08 percent BAC doesn't mean that he or she was actually drunk and/or deserved to be arrested. These devices are prone to errors and mistakes. If you were arrested because of a failed Breathalyzer test, learn more about your legal rights and options so you can develop an appropriate criminal defense.

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