It is a situation that every motorist dreads. Seeing the lights flash behind your car and realizing that you’re being pulled over by a police office. Being pulled over by a police officer for DUI can be intimidating. If you believe that you are safe just because you have had a couple of alcohol beverages and are confident that you will clear the breathalyzer test, you may not be entirely right. There are ways that a police officer can influence your breathalyzer reading, without you even knowing it.

How can the officer do this? What he does is manipulate your pattern of breathing as he is administering the breathalyzer test. It is scientifically proven that the concentration of alcohol in your breath changes considerably during the breath. The first part of the breath is likely to contain the least concentration of alcohol. In fact, at this stage, you are very likely to register below the .08% level. However, as you begin to inhale more deeply, you’re much more likely to be in dangerous territory. The last part of your breath actually contains a higher concentration of alcohol.

A police officer knows this, and may ask you while you are taking the breathalyzer test to breathe harder. If you breathe deeper and harder, the breathalyzer is likely to detect more traces of alcohol in the last part of your breath. You are therefore much more likely to fail the breathalyzer test or register at or above the .08% level.

That means that you’re possibly looking at a DUI arrest, even though you may not be intoxicated at all. It’s highly likely that you will be very confused at such a time, especially because you do not believe that the number of alcoholic beverages that you had were sufficient for you to register at the maximum permissible limit.

Just because you have registered at the maximum permissible level or higher on a breathalyzer does not mean that a conviction is guaranteed. The first thing that you need to do when you have been arrested for DUI is immediately get in touch with a Denver DUI defense lawyer.

Breathalyzer Tests May Not Be Conclusive

You must understand that breathalyzers are not infallible, or without potential for errors. Breathalyzers are simple devices, and as such, they can be prone to errors. These errors can be human or mechanical in nature. There’s no doubt that the quality of breathalyzers has improved in the past few years, but they are still prone to inaccuracies and very often, such inaccuracies in breathalyzer readings can prove to be a good defense for DUI.

One of the biggest challenges in breathalyzer readings is that the reading may be effected by contamination by other substances. There are a number of substances, that range all the way from gasoline fumes to cell phone signals that can actually interfere with a breathalyzer reading leading to inaccurate results.

Besides, a breathalyzer may deliver different results during different times. If you are a smoker, you may find that the breathalyzer delivers different test results, compared to a non-smoker. Diabetic patients may also find inaccurate test readings from the breathalyzer. A person who is dieting is also much more likely to inaccurately register higher on a breathalyzer.

Persons, who suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disorder or acid reflux disorder, are also much more likely to register highly on the breathalyzer, in spite of the fact that they have not consumed alcohol recently.

Apart from mechanical errors, there may be human errors that affect breathalyzer test results. For instance, the officer in question may misread a concentration level based on a reading. He may also administer the tests in the improper sequence, leading to a faulty reading.

Inaccurate breathalyzer test readings are very often used as a defense for DUI, and if you have registered a .08 or above on a breathalyzer test, it does not necessarily mean that your case is hopeless. It is important however to get in touch with DUI defense attorneys to understand what strategies would be best in your case.

Breathalyzer Defenses For Your DUI Case

In Colorado, police officers use Intoxilyzer 5000EN device to test for alcohol concentration levels.

However, like any other device, breathalyzer test devices can malfunction or otherwise fail. Your Denver DUI defense attorney will go through all documents after a breathalyzer test is conducted, to identify whether any errors occurred during the administration of the test. It takes an experienced attorney to identify whether errors occurred, and to request documents to identify it.

For instance, the device may not have been properly calibrated, resulting in inaccurate results, or results could be unreliable because all the protocols were not followed in the administration of the test. For instance, there may be fluctuating calibration problems, or physical malfunctioning of the device, or other types of malfunction that cause inaccurate readings. Sometimes, inaccurate results could be the result of power fluctuations, or poor maintenance of the device. They could also be the result of the officer’s failure to wait for the minimum observation period before the administration of the test.

In all these cases, the accuracy of the results and the validity of errors would be called into question by a Denver criminal defense attorney. If you were arrested for DUI, speak to a Denver criminal defense attorney and discuss your case.

What Should You Do If You’re Pulled Over?

Even if you do not believe that you are intoxicated, you may be showing certain signs of intoxication that the officer is specifically looking for. These include blood shot eyes, slurred speech, and the smell of alcohol coming from you. The officer will take this chance to conduct a visual scan of your vehicle, to see if there are incriminating pieces of evidence, like open containers of alcohol.

If you’re feeling slightly buzzed, and aren’t exactly sure how to respond to the officer, the best thing to do is keep silent. The more you talk, the more likely it is that you will say things that will incriminate you.

Silence is the best policy when you’re pulled over by a police officer. If you are arrested for DUI, you have the right to a Denver DUI defense attorney. Use that right. Talk to a Denver DUI defense attorney immediately.

By: Dan Murphy

Denver criminal defense lawyer Daniel M. Murphy provides clients in the Denver area with aggressive and sympathetic legal representation. He graduated from the University of Denver Law School in 1994 and worked as a public defender before starting his own practice in 1996. He has defended clients accused of the most difficult criminal and alcohol-related charges. He also serves as a Moot Court Judge for Denver-area law students who rely on his mentorship.