Article courtesy of Richard Jacobs, editor of
Driving Under Influence: Top Facts & Myths
All people who have ever been pulled over for DUI, have been arrested
or are in danger of being so need to consider the following facts and
fiction about what’s true in DUI and what is not.
Myth: Field Sobriety Tests accurately identify who’s intoxicated
because they are based on scientific evidence
Fact: According to Clemson University scientists, this is not true. A
study conducted involved a video showing police officers conducting
field sobriety tests on six individuals. In the video, the officers were
asked to determine if the individuals were intoxicated and while, none
of the individuals were actually drunk, the officers believed almost
half of them to be drunk.
Myth: If an intoxicated person sucks on pennies, their BAC reading will
Fact: Untrue! Sucking on pennies or any other type of copper will not
reduce your Blood Alcohol Concentration; it will only make you look
Myth: People, who don’t drink, can never be arrested for drunk driving.
Fact: Surprisingly untrue! Some people can be arrested on suspicion of
DUI who don’t drink because the human body also naturally produces some
amount of alcohol on a continuous basis which is independent of how much
alcohol we consume. Sometimes, people whose bodies are producing more
alcohol on a continuous basis can be enough for them to qualify for
alcohol intoxication and therefore, liable to be arrested for DUI.
Myth: Diabetics who are suffering from slurred speech, hypoglycemia,
staggering, disorientation, drowsiness, poor motor control etc. will be
cleared by the Breathalyzer but will fail the field sobriety tests.
Fact: The breathalyzer will detect the acetone on the breath of diabetic
people suffering from hypoglycemia and therefore almost, one of the
seven people who are diabetic is at the risk of false arrest and
conviction of DUI.
Myth: Breathalyzers and other breath tests are scientifically accurate.
Fact: Breathalyzers can often be inaccurate! Even if the common problems
present in breathalyzers are not present, still, the tests will lack
accuracy, at least to a certain degree. According to law professor and
attorney Lawrence Taylor, “Scientists universally recognize an inherent
errorin breath analysis, generally of plus or minus .01%.” This is a
very common misconception that breathalyzers are accurate and even
courts recognize the inaccuracy that is often present in breath test
results and even in ideal conditions, a BAC of 0.08 actually means a BAC
reading of 0.07 or 0.065.
Myth: Police officers and other law enforcement officers cannot
influence the BAC reading of a breath testing machine.
Fact: Unfortunately, law enforcement officers can influence the results
of a breath test and many times, they do.
According to Dr. Michael Hlastala, Professor of Physiology, Biophysics
and Medicine at the University of Washington: "By far, the most
overlooked error in breath testing for alcohol is the pattern of
breathing.... The concentration of alcohol changes considerably during
The first part of the breath, after discarding the dead space, has an
alcohol concentration much lower than the equivalent BAC. Whereas, the
last part of the breath has an alcohol concentration that is much higher
than the equivalent BAC. The last part of the breath can be over 50%
above the alcohol level... .Thus, a breath tester reading of 0.14% taken
from the last part of the breath may indicate that the blood level is
Myth: Breath tests for alcohol basically measure the concentration of
alcohol in a person’s blood stream.
Fact: Blood Alcohol Concentration is basically measured by analyzing a
small sample of the blood so alcohol breath tests don’t really measure
that. Alcohol breath testers basically measure the amount of alcohol in
the blood after which the concentration of alcohol is estimated which is
why this estimation is not heavily relied upon by most courts.
Alcohol breath testers mostly detect any kind of chemical compounds that
contain the methyl group in its structure but there are thousands of
such compounds in the blood and many of them are naturally occurring in
the breath and are picked up otherwise (gasoline, paint, glue, new car
smell etc.). Therefore, BAC measure is basically an estimate and is not
directly measured by alcohol breath testers.
Myth: An individual that is accused of DUI or DWI has the right to
contest the results of a BAC estimator machine considering that the
results of a BAC estimator machine are questionable at best.
Fact: This is not true and according to the Bill of Rights and the
United States Constitution, the right to a jury trial is fundamental to
English law. The Sixth Amendment also grants the accused the right to a
public trial by an impartial jury and there are present no exceptions to
this right to a trial in all criminal cases.
However, many states will also tend to deny public trials even though
you might have evidence that your BAC reading is erroneous and that you
are innocent of DUI.
Richard Jacobs is a chief editor since early 2007, and he currently
works for MyDUIattorney, a Website that helps you to find the right DUI
lawyer. You can search for a
Los Angeles DUI
Lawyer or for
Lawyer New Jersey online, anytime!