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Breathalyzer and Urine DUI Tests Prone to Error

We’ve been talking recently about the various tests law enforcement officers use as grounds for DUI arrests. You can read about field sobriety tests here and blood tests here. In this article, we’ll talk about problems with urine and breath tests.

Implied Consent to Testing

Unlike field sobriety tests – which are strictly voluntary – blood, urine and breath tests are a completely different story. When you applied for your Arizona driver’s license, you granted what is termed “implied consent” to take a blood, breath or urine test if requested by an arresting officer. The test must be performed within two (2) hours of when you were drinking, and the officer gets to select which of the three tests you’ll take.

Refusing to Be Tested

If you’re arrested and choose not to take the test, count on surrendering your license to the officer. If it’s your first offense, you’ll be without your license for a year. However, you will get a temporary driving permit good for 15 days. Also, you can challenge the suspension but you must submit a written request for a hearing within 15 days of receiving a notice from the state informing you of the license suspension.

Accuracy of Breathalyzer and Urine Tests

While field sobriety tests are unreliable because they rely upon the judgement or opinion of the officer giving the test, breath and urine tests are equally unreliable, but for different reasons.

  • Breath Test With a breath test, the officer is trying to calculate the percentage of alcohol in the air you exhale into a device. That amount is then multiplied by 2,1000 to arrive at the blood alcohol reading.

The reason for that is because the average sober person’s body will create 1 part alcohol for every 2,100 parts blood. However, because we’re all different, the formula does not account for variables which will make that alcohol ratio change. Such variables can include your body temperature, respiration rate hormone levels, etc.

  • Urine Test Normally, a person suspected of DUI will be asked to urinate and provide another sample, which will be tested, 20 minutes later. But this is the least accurate of the three tests.

That’s because the presence of alcohol – or drugs, for that matter – can give merely an estimation of your level of intoxication. Because urine is stored and remains in the bladder until emptied, the results can be greatly affected by how recent urination was done.

Charged and Tested for DUI? Call The Oswalt Law Group

As you can tell from this and our other articles about DUI testing, the science is far less than perfect. Do not be intimidated if you tested positive in a DUI test. Instead, get in touch with the Oswalt Law Group for an aggressive defense of your rights. Call us at (602) 225-2222 for a free review of your case.

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