Author Topic: The Breathalyzer  (Read 3595 times)

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Offline daniel1948

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Re: The Breathalyzer
« Reply #15 on: December 31, 2016, 09:53:00 AM »
... I don't want to spend money on a breathalyzer test but would be curious what my baseline might be since I am a diabetic.

My suggestion: Go to a police station and tell them just that: That you are diabetic, and have heard that the breathalyzer can give a false positive, and ask if they will give you the test now and tell you the result. Best if you walk there, just in case. Then if it's high, you cannot be charged with driving there drunk. Depending on the cops, they might be willing to give you the test.

The first two links you gave are from law firms advertising for people to try to beat DUI charges. I suspect they may be exaggerating the situation in order to get clients. "Arrested for driving drunk? We can help you beat the charges in court by arguing against the tests."

I've never been given the test. But I'm a morning person, and avoid driving at night because I hate looking into headlights, and I don't have good night vision. And I don't drink, other than maybe half a beer once every year or two, and then I don't drive until the next day.
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Offline The Latinist

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Re: The Breathalyzer
« Reply #16 on: December 31, 2016, 10:36:17 AM »
In my state refusal to take a breathalyzer is not a criminal offense, but it results in the suspension of one's license.  The requirement to take a breathalyzer test when asked is clearly spelled out on the form when you apply.  The suspension is a purely administrative matter and does not require any court action.
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Offline Fast Eddie B

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Re: The Breathalyzer
« Reply #17 on: December 31, 2016, 11:33:13 AM »
Refusal to blow is the same as blowing over the limit.


Each state may be slightly different, but at least in FL it's not the same.

When you apply for a license, you have to agree to "implied consent". If you refuse to consent to a breathalyzer, it's charged under a different law.

The consequences may or may not be the same, but it's in fact charged under a different law.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2016, 02:19:00 PM by Fast Eddie B »

Offline paulos23

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Re: The Breathalyzer
« Reply #18 on: December 31, 2016, 11:44:51 AM »
My friend got hit by a drunk.  The drunk got out of car and ran home.  And then had a six-pack and was finishing it off when the police caught up with him.  Because he had been drinking they couldn't give him a breathalyzer and couldn't make the DUI stick. 

Not the best way to get out of a DUI, but it worked at the time.

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Offline Harry Black

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Re: The Breathalyzer
« Reply #19 on: December 31, 2016, 12:37:00 PM »
My friend got hit by a drunk.  The drunk got out of car and ran home.  And then had a six-pack and was finishing it off when the police caught up with him.  Because he had been drinking they couldn't give him a breathalyzer and couldn't make the DUI stick. 

Not the best way to get out of a DUI, but it worked at the time.

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They got him for fleeing the scene and the damage caused though right?

Online Desert Fox

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Re: The Breathalyzer
« Reply #20 on: December 31, 2016, 12:53:43 PM »
... I don't want to spend money on a breathalyzer test but would be curious what my baseline might be since I am a diabetic.

My suggestion: Go to a police station and tell them just that: That you are diabetic, and have heard that the breathalyzer can give a false positive, and ask if they will give you the test now and tell you the result. Best if you walk there, just in case. Then if it's high, you cannot be charged with driving there drunk. Depending on the cops, they might be willing to give you the test.

The first two links you gave are from law firms advertising for people to try to beat DUI charges. I suspect they may be exaggerating the situation in order to get clients. "Arrested for driving drunk? We can help you beat the charges in court by arguing against the tests."

I've never been given the test. But I'm a morning person, and avoid driving at night because I hate looking into headlights, and I don't have good night vision. And I don't drink, other than maybe half a beer once every year or two, and then I don't drive until the next day.

The one where they use the flashlight and expect you to follow it, I would not be surprised if even a 23%failure rate might not be on the low side.  Anything based on the subjectivity of a police officer I suspect is going to have massive problems.
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Offline Friendly Angel

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Re: The Breathalyzer
« Reply #21 on: December 31, 2016, 01:40:12 PM »
Virtually all cops know about the diabetic thing, but so do a lot of drunks.  If a cop wants to give you a test and you tell him you're diabetic, he might not believe you but at least you'd have a reasonable chance of not getting hauled to jail.
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Offline Fast Eddie B

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Re: The Breathalyzer
« Reply #22 on: December 31, 2016, 02:26:45 PM »
My friend got hit by a drunk.  The drunk got out of car and ran home.  And then had a six-pack and was finishing it off when the police caught up with him.  Because he had been drinking they couldn't give him a breathalyzer and couldn't make the DUI stick. 

Not the best way to get out of a DUI, but it worked at the time.


They got him for fleeing the scene and the damage caused though right?

Had the same thing happen in Dade County, FL.

Hit and run. Ran the tag and came up with the home address. Knocked on the door and the wife allowed us entry. Arrested the driver who was in his bedroom in bed - I recall he wasn't happy about getting arrested in his house.

Read him Miranda from a card, and asked him if he had had anything to drink since the accident and he said no. Did a formal breathalyzer at the station using the "Indium Crimper" method and he was well above the limit. Charged him with DUI on top of the leaving the scene.

At trial, he testified that he had had more to drunk after he got home. That convinced the judge, who found him not guilty of DUI. But for the leaving the scene he was hit with the same added penalties as if he had been convicted of DUI, so we felt somewhat vindicated.

DUI's are a scourge, and I'm proud of the fact that I had over 100 successful convictions. Maybe it made some small difference.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2016, 02:29:17 PM by Fast Eddie B »

Offline arthwollipot

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Re: The Breathalyzer
« Reply #23 on: December 31, 2016, 07:07:11 PM »
I assume that they have you take it whether they smell alcohol or not. . . .What do they do with asthmatics and people who have smaller lungs?

There are a couple of models of breathalyser - the most common one involves blowing into a plastic tube attached to an electronic box, but I've also used one where all you need to do is count to ten out loud in front of the machine.

If an asthmatic can speak, then they can be breathalysed.
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Offline Eternally Learning

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Re: The Breathalyzer
« Reply #24 on: December 31, 2016, 07:32:15 PM »

The one where they use the flashlight and expect you to follow it, I would not be surprised if even a 23%failure rate might not be on the low side.  Anything based on the subjectivity of a police officer I suspect is going to have massive problems.

Again, I don't know a lot about this test, but I do know that it's not just a binary pass or fail overall.  There are specific clues they have to look for and a threshold for the amount of clues they have to find to be able to state that the subject failed. They also have to articulate these clues in court for what it's worth.  I often hear about troopers allowing rides to pick people up who are borderline as they want to be able to stand by the results in court and thus want a clear result.  Also, I often hear them characterize failures as the subject not even being able to look at the light at all due to a complete lack of coordination.  So while in controlled circumstances, a borderline DUI subject may be likely to confound the test in one direction or another,  in my experience the troopers I work with focus so little of the borderline people that I feel pretty confident their stats are much more reliable.

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Re: The Breathalyzer
« Reply #25 on: December 31, 2016, 07:43:37 PM »
Again, I don't know a lot about this test, but I do know that it's not just a binary pass or fail overall.  There are specific clues they have to look for and a threshold for the amount of clues they have to find to be able to state that the subject failed. They also have to articulate these clues in court for what it's worth.  I often hear about troopers allowing rides to pick people up who are borderline as they want to be able to stand by the results in court and thus want a clear result.  Also, I often hear them characterize failures as the subject not even being able to look at the light at all due to a complete lack of coordination.  So while in controlled circumstances, a borderline DUI subject may be likely to confound the test in one direction or another,  in my experience the troopers I work with focus so little of the borderline people that I feel pretty confident their stats are much more reliable.

I like the way some other countries seem to do it. . . .Breathalyzer followed by a blood test if you fail.
Even if there are cases of labs faking results,  I truth them more. In addition, make it so a person can request to get an extra sample taken and it gets sent to an independent lab. Yes, I accept that it would almost have to be at the defendant's expense.

I know I am kind of in a weird position with not drinking at all and most people have been drinking and it is an issue of if they are over the legal limit or not. The legal limit also is an arbitrary number which was judged to make that person a danger on the road.
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Offline Eternally Learning

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Re: The Breathalyzer
« Reply #26 on: December 31, 2016, 07:44:42 PM »
Found a video comparing someone sober with someone intoxicated just for reference.  In looking at it, the difference seems clear.  Not sure if flashlights are used for a different test or just at night though.


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Re: The Breathalyzer
« Reply #27 on: December 31, 2016, 07:52:36 PM »
How about testing that with somebody who has issues already with eye tracking?

Edit: This is from a defense lawyers perspective but still gives a number of issues
http://www.gustitislaw.com/bryan-college-station-dwi/attacking-the-horizontal-gaze-nystagmus-hgn-test/
However, nystagmus can be caused by problems in an individual’s inner ear labyrinth. In fact, irrigating the ears with warm water or cold water…is a source of error. Physiological problems such as certain kinds of diseases may also result in gaze nystagmus. Influenza, streptococcus infections, vertigo, measles, syphilis, arteriosclerosis, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, Korsakoff’s Syndrome, brain hemorrhage, epilepsy, and other psychogenic disorders all have been shown to cause nystagmus. Furthermore, conditions such as hypertension, motion sickness, sunstroke, eyestrain, eye muscle fatigue, glaucoma, and changes in atmospheric pressure may result in gaze nystagmus. The consumption of common substances such as caffeine, nicotine, or aspirin also lead to nystagmus almost identical to that caused by alcohol consumption.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2016, 07:56:30 PM by Desert Fox »
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Offline Eternally Learning

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Re: The Breathalyzer
« Reply #28 on: December 31, 2016, 08:25:27 PM »
Again, that's why I think multiple layers of tests is a good idea.  What are the odds someone hasn't been drinking, but:

1. Gets pulled over for something else or driving erratically.
2. Gives the officer a reason to suspect they are intoxicated.
3. Has a condition that causes them to fail HGN.
4. Is unable to perform a walk and turn.
5. And gives a false positive on a breathalyzer test.

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Re: The Breathalyzer
« Reply #29 on: January 01, 2017, 12:18:56 AM »
Again, that's why I think multiple layers of tests is a good idea.  What are the odds someone hasn't been drinking, but:

1. Gets pulled over for something else or driving erratically.
2. Gives the officer a reason to suspect they are intoxicated.
3. Has a condition that causes them to fail HGN.
4. Is unable to perform a walk and turn.
5. And gives a false positive on a breathalyzer test.

I guess that is kind of hard to argue with but I still think the breathalyzer is the most important component.
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