Breathalyzer Test: Does Smoking Register On It?

When you’re pulled over for suspicion of DUI in North Carolina, the police officers have several tools at their disposal to determine if you are intoxicated. One of the most important tools they utilize is the breathalyzer test. This test measures the blood alcohol concentration in your body at the time it’s administered. Whatever the results of this test, they will be used to determine whether you should be arrested and charged with DUI. Many of our clients over the years have had issues with the results of their breathalyzer tests. Even the best DUI lawyers in Asheville have a difficult time proving that the results were inaccurate. The state tends to believe the credibility of a breathalyzer machine over the word of a defendant. However, that doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to discredit the results of a breathalyzer test.

Here, we will discuss the various reasons why the results of your breathalyzer test could be misleading. We will specifically address the issue of whether smoking can skew the results of a breathalyzer test. There is ample evidence to show that people who smoke cigarettes may score higher on the breathalyzer test than people who don’t smoke. If you happen to be a smoker and have recently been arrested and charged with DUI, your Asheville, North Carolina criminal defense attorney may be able to get the charges against you reduced or dismissed.

What Does a Breathalyzer Test Measure?

As briefly explained above, a breathalyzer test measures the blood alcohol concentration in your body. in North Carolina, as in most other states, the legal limit for being intoxicated is 0.08. If you happen to blow into the breathalyzer machine and the results are .08 or higher, you will be arrested and charged with DUI. The police officers do not have discretion when it comes to the results of a breathalyzer test. You can certainly ask to take another breathalyzer test when you get to the station. The results of this test may be more accurate. This also gives you a chance to have your bac drop in the time it takes to get the second test administered.

Whether or not your breathalyzer test will register a high score depends on a variety of factors. These factors include the following:

  • Your weight-people who are heavier and have a higher fat to muscle ratio are more likely to fail a breathalyzer exam
  • People who normally don’t drink alcohol may blow a much higher level than regular drinkers
  • Younger people tend to have a breathalyzer result higher than older people
  • Women tend to have a higher BAC than men

Knowing that all these factors can play a role in the results of your breathalyzer test should be enough to make you question its veracity. It’s certainly something your Asheville, North Carolina criminal defense attorney will question in court.

What Are the Odds that the Results of the Breathalyzer Are Wrong?

When your attorney is preparing your defense, one of the things they investigate is the results of your breathalyzer test. One of the first things to look at is to see when the last time the machine was calibrated. Of course, this does not work if you were administered a portable breathalyzer test. These tests are disposable and are not calibrated at anytime. The second thing your attorney will look for is to see if the test was administered properly. If the police officer doesn’t administer the test properly your results may be inaccurate. One final thing your Asheville, North Carolina criminal defense attorney will investigate is whether you have a medical condition that could explain a higher BAC level.

One other thing that your attorney will consider is whether you’re a smoker. There have been studies recently that show that people who smoke can blow a much higher BAC then a non-smoker. This has something to do with the chemicals in the cigarettes themselves as well as the impact they have on your lungs. If your lawyer believes that your smoking cigarettes contributed to a higher BAC level, they’ll ask the prosecutor to either reduce the charges to a reckless driving or to dismiss them altogether.

You May Also Be Able to Argue that The Results Were Skewed by Your Smoking

As mentioned above, one of the arguments your attorney will make is that your results on the breathalyzer tests were skewed because you smoke. They’ll be able to submit studies that show that this is the case. Unfortunately, even if your attorney submits 10 studies proving that smoking increases one’s blood alcohol concentration, that doesn’t mean the prosecutor will agree to dismiss the charges. In fact, there are times that attorneys have been able to show that a breathalyzer test was administered improperly and the charges are still filed against their client. Obviously, that’s not the goal when your attorney meets with the prosecutor. They’ll work hard to get the charges against you dropped to reckless driving. At least with a reckless driving charge you won’t lose your license.

Meet with One of the Best DUI Lawyers in Asheville As Soon as Possible After Your Arrest

We recommend that anyone who’s arrested for DUI in North Carolina contact one of the best DUI lawyers in Asheville. Our Asheville, North Carolina criminal defense attorneys have worked for years to help their clients get a fair outcome. If you’ve been charged with DUI and truly don’t believe you were drunk at the time of your arrest, we’ll do our best to prove that the breathalyzer test was inaccurate. If you happen to be a smoker, will argue that the breathalyzer results were skewed because you smoke. We can submit copies of your medical records showing that you’ve been a smoker for years. While this is no guarantee that the charges against you will be reduced, it is a strong argument to make. The fact that this argument is backed up by science makes it even stronger.

We suggest that you contact our office and speak with one of the best DUI lawyers in Asheville within minutes of your arrest. If you’re unable to make the call yourself, have a family member or friend call us on your behalf. The sooner we get involved in your case, the sooner we can get the charges against you reduced or dismissed.

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