Los Angeles DUI and Insufficient Breath Samples
After a driver has been arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, the arresting officer will give the driver the option of taking either a breath test or a blood test. By law, all drivers who are lawfully arrested for DUI must submit to either the breath or blood test. If the driver refuses testing, the Department of Motor Vehicles will issue a one year driver’s license suspension during which the driver would not be eligible for any type of restricted license. In addition, the driver would still be charged with driving under the influence in addition to a refusal allegation which would add mandatory jail time.
Many drivers will select the breath test instead of the blood test. Some drivers are afraid of needles and do not like the idea of having blood taken from them. In addition, drivers who may have substances in their system other than alcohol may want to avoid a blood test as the Breathalyzer can only measure for alcohol and not drugs. In many cases, law enforcement officers will push drivers to take the breath test instead of the blood test. The breath test is quick and relatively simple to administer and can be conducted within minutes at the police station. The blood test typically requires the office to transport the suspect to a hospital and wait with him or her while a nurse or other medical professional prepares and conducts the test. The officer then has to deal with logging the blood sample into evidence and the driver’s BAC is not immediately known when a driver chooses the DUI blood test. The breath test provides immediate results.
The breath test is conducted on a Breathalyzer device that is stored at the police station. The law requires that the driver provide two samples on the Breathalyzer device and the results must be within two points of each other for the test to be considered valid. The Breathalyzer functions by analyzing alveolar air (also known as “deep lung air”). To ensure a proper sample, the Breathalyzer device requires the test taker to breathe deeply and forcefully into the device. If the driver breathes too weakly, the device will be unable to read the sample and provide a printout that states “insufficient sample.”
When an officer sees this, he or she may believe that the DUI suspect is intentionally providing a weak sample in order to avoid the test. In many cases, when a DUI suspect provides an “insufficient sample” on the Breathalyzer, the officer will ask if the driver wants to take a blood test. If the driver refuses the blood test and continues to provide insufficient breath samples, the officer will usually treat this as a DUI refusal.
However, in some cases a driver may be prevented from providing a sufficient breath sample as a result of a preexisting medical condition, such as asthma or COPD, that affects his or her ability to breathe forcefully. In addition, in some cases the officer will only take one test on the Breathalyzer and will forget about the second required test. When this happens, the Breathalyzer may time out and will show the second test as an “insufficient sample.” In these circumstances, it is critical to have an experienced Los Angeles DUI Lawyer carefully review the breath test results and other related evidence.
If you have been arrested for DUI, it is crucial that you consult with a Los Angeles DUI Attorney immediately. Lawyer Michael Kraut is a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience who understands how to effectively challenge breath test results.
For more information about Los Angeles DUI and insufficient breath samples, and to schedule your free consultation, contact Michael Kraut at the Kraut Law Group located at 6255 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 1520, Los Angeles, CA 90028. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 888-334-6344 or 323-464-6453.