The Intoxilyzer 5000 Margin of Error

Posted by Richard Lawson | Jun 27, 2013 | 0 Comments

The Intoxilyzer 5000 is a common breath test machine. It is a type of chemical test used to measure blood alcohol concentration after a lawful DUI test. The major problem with breath test machines like the Intoxilyzer 5000 is that there is a margin of error. Because the blood alcohol limit is so specific (.08 percent maximum), even the slightest percentage of inaccuracy can result in criminal charges. This is why one of the strongest defenses that Atlanta DUI attorneys use is attacking the accuracy of the breath test device and calling into question the accuracy of those results.

This specific breath testing device is designed so that law enforcement can have an accurate test of a person's blood alcohol concentration without actually drawing a blood sample. In some cases, arrestees will be required to give a blood sample in addition to or instead of the breath test. The problem with this theory is that the Intoxilyzer can only make an estimate of blood alcohol concentration based on the amount of ethanol on a person's breath (the chemical left behind after consuming alcohol). Many factors can affect the outcome of a breath test. Even certain foods can give a false reading.

Another factor that contributes to the margin of error in Intoxilyzer 5000 tests is the fact that not all individuals process alcohol the same way. There is a certain ratio that these breath test machines operate on. That ratio represents alcohol in blood to breath. The accuracy of the Intoxilyzer 5000's results is based on the assumption that every individual tested has the same alcohol in blood to alcohol in breath ratio, but this is not the case.

What's more, the breath test does not take into account that there is a drastic difference between an individual's absorption phase and their elimination phase. The difference is this. During the absorption phase, a person's body is still in the process of absorbing alcohol. During the elimination phase, alcohol is already on its way out of a person's system. This could mean that a person who recently consumed only a few sips of alcohol could be tested to have as high of a blood alcohol content as someone who drank 2 drinks an hour or more prior.

The Intoxilyzer 5000 can also give false readings if the tests are not administered properly. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Division of Forensic Sciences trains law enforcement and other personnel on proper procedure for administering this type of test. For one, the law enforcement officer or whoever is administering the Intoxilyzer 5000 test must instruct the arrestee when to blow and must also inform them to "keep blowing" until the test is complete. Some individuals are charged with failure to submit to a chemical test simply because, without their knowledge, they did not complete the test.

When Atlanta DUI Attorney Richard Lawson calls the validity of the breath test machine into question, you may be able to get your DUI charges reduced or even dismissed. If the breath test is proven to be inaccurate (or even potentially inaccurate) then the breath test results cannot be considered against you. Without the breath test results, your charges will have little merit. If you would like to learn more about how to fight a DUI charge with the help of The Law Offices of Richard S. Lawson, please don't hesitate to call us today and schedule your free consultation.

About the Author

Richard Lawson

Richard S. Lawson is passionate about intoxicated driving defense. Unlike some attorneys, Mr. Lawson devotes 100% of his legal practice to helping people stand up for their rights against DUI charges. For more than 20 years, Mr. Lawson has dutifully fought for his clients' freedom, resolving more 4,900 impaired driving cases during the course of his career. Today, Mr. Lawson has developed a reputation as a skilled negotiator and continues to help clients by fighting to keep them out of jail.


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