If you have been charged with a DUI in Arizona, you likely were given, in addition to a field sobriety test, what is commonly (but mistakenly) referred to as a “Breathalyzer” test.  In fact, “Breathalyzer” is a trade name for a specific brand of breath testing machines.  And in Arizona, only one brand of testing equipment is approved for use by law enforcement.  It is known as the Intoxilyzer, manufactured by CMI, and the most recent incarnation is the Intoxilyzer 8000.  The Intoxilyzer is an indirect measurement of a person’s blood alcohol level (BAC), but does not measure impairment.

Many people feel that if they were given a breath test as part of a drunk driving investigation, they are doomed to a DUI conviction.  In fact, breath testing is subject to error in numerous areas, among them:

  • The presence of alcohol in the mouth leading to an artificially high (and inaccurate) reading of your BAC;
  • Calibration errors, that is, errors in the functioning of the machine itself;
  • Human error;
  • Interference by radio waves, causing false results; and
  • Non-alcohol substances being interpreted by the machine as alcohol, again leading to an inaccurate BAC reading.
  • The premise of the Intoxilyzer is that every person is the same when it comes to BAC measurement.  This is simply false.  The blood to breath ratio, which measures the number of times a substance in appears in the blood versus the number of times it appears in the breath, is not the same for everyone, and the long and short of it is that the machine may yield an artificially high BAC if the actual ratio is lower than assumed by the Intoxilyzer.

In order to insure that you receive the benefit of all possible defenses to a DUI, contact a Phoenix DUI Attorney with the experience and knowledge to defend you against a drunk driving charge.

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