Forward-Thinking. Bold. Committed.

Breath alcohol tests may not provide accurate readings

On Behalf of | Nov 15, 2021 | Drunk Driving Charges

Pennsylvania’s law enforcement officials pull over motorists they observe speeding or swerving. If a driver appears intoxicated, an officer will most likely ask for a breath test. A motorist who fails to comply could face arrest.

As noted by WebMD, a breath alcohol test device provides an estimate of how much alcohol an individual consumed. After blowing into it, the device interprets a blood alcohol content level based on the detected amount of alcohol in the exhaled breath.

Manual and electronic breath test devices

Officials use one of two types of breath test devices to gauge a driver’s BAC. One test involves a motorist blowing into a balloon. The air then goes into a tube containing bands of yellow crystals. The number of bands changing color estimates the amount of alcohol in the motorist’s system.

Officers also use a portable electronic devices. When an individual blows into its mouthpiece, it provides an instant BAC reading. Officers need an average reading to file charges and could ask motorists to blow into the device several times. 

Blood sample alcohol tests

A driver’s actions might provide reasonable cause for an officer to suspect drunk driving. As noted by, officers possess the authority to request a blood sample BAC test based on the possibility of breath test devices providing inaccurate readings. A licensed medical professional then collects a blood sample by drawing blood from the motorist’s arm.

Refusing a breath test when requested will often cause an officer to demand a blood sample test. An officer has the right to arrest a motorist to perform a blood test.

A BAC test performed on a blood sample may determine whether a motorist had more than the legal alcohol limit in his or her bloodstream. Drivers, however, may contest drunk driving charges based on factors such as how the officer conducted the traffic stop.