Imagine you are driving home from happy hour with your girlfriends when a law enforcement officer stops you because you did not make a complete stop at a stop sign. He smells liquor on your breath and arrests you on suspicion of drunk driving. A breathalyzer test confirms a high blood alcohol content level, but you did not have that much to drink. Is the test fair?
In the state of Tennessee, law enforcement officers are the only people permitted to test a breathalyzer for accuracy, but accuracy can, indeed, be an issue. The equipment may have malfunctioned or the person in charge of your test may not have received sufficient training.
Men, women, and alcohol
There is also a gender issue with the breathalyzer machine in that the settings reflect the lung capacity of an average male, which is unfair to women. The settings also do not take into account that women metabolize alcohol slower than men do. For example, a man who weighs 100 pounds and consumes two standard alcoholic drinks within an hour will have a BAC of 0.06 percent. A woman who weighs 100 pounds and consumes two drinks during the same period of time will show a BAC of 0.074 percent.
By the numbers
There are many reasons to question the numbers the breathalyzer generates, particularly regarding women. To begin with, the numbers are derived from a mathematical formula. Many factors can affect the BAC level in your test, such as your body temperature or breath temperature, for example. Certain conditions, such as diabetes, heartburn, liver disease or an esophageal hernia can throw the numbers off, as can certain medications, something you ate or even your lip balm. Finally, remember that breathalyzer test results seem to give men more of an advantage. There is a question of fairness here, and you must protect your rights.
An experienced DUI attorney may be able to develop an effective defense for you.