Pasadena Breath Tests
During the investigation phase of the Pasadena DUI Process, a driver may be asked to comply with two types of breath tests; a preliminary test using a portable Preliminary Alcohol Screening ("PAS") device and an official test using a stationary breathalyzer machine. While the PAS test is optional in most cases, the breathalyzer test is one of two options (the other being a blood test) provided to DUI suspects as part of almost all Pasadena DUI investigations. The breath test is often the chosen form of testing and many DUI cases out of the Pasadena region are predicated on the results of this test.
Both the PAS device and breathalyzer tests have limits to what they are capable of showing about a person's level of intoxication. Both the PAS and breathalyzer can only monitor a breath sample for alcohol, and would not be able to determine whether the person being tested is under the influence of drugs. Neither the breathalyzer nor PAS test can distinguish between male and female test subjects, and it has been shown that men and women metabolize alcohol at different rates.
Title 17 of the California Code of Regulations has set forth the following standards that must be adhered to by law enforcement regarding breath test devices:
- Only California-approved devices can be used.
- The devices must be calibrated and tested on a regular basis, and records of this must be kept.
- Anyone administering a test using a breath device must be properly trained.
- Prior to any test, there must be a 15-minute period in which the suspect is watched and during which the suspect cannot eat, drink, smoke or vomit (all of which can affect test results)
- Two separate breath tests must be given and the results cannot vary by more than 0.02 percent.
There are various factors that can affect the results of a Pasadena breath test and may lead to false positives or inaccurate readings. The breathalyzer test is intended to measure the breath from deep in the lung area, which is why law enforcement officers always ask people being tested to blow as hard they can into the breath testing device. Some people may have medical conditions, such as asthma or emphysema, that prevents them from providing adequate samples. In addition, someone may be unconscious and thus unable to provide a breath sample.
Certain medical conditions can affect one's performance on the Pasadena breath test. If a person suffers from gastrointestinal reflux disease ("GERD"), stomach contents may continually affect the level of mouth alcohol in a person's body, which can have a huge affect on any subsequent breath test. As a result, alcohol consumed hours ago present in the stomach or esophagus can lead to incorrectly high BAC readings. In addition, medical conditions such as hypoglycemia, diabetes or diets that feature low carbohydrate intake can cause a person's ketone levels to be elevated and can show up as false positives for ethyl alcohol on breath tests.
A rising blood alcohol level may also throw off the results of a breath alcohol test in Pasadena. When a person consumes alcohol, it takes time for that alcohol to be absorbed by the body. Thus there may be cases where a person is driving with an acceptable blood alcohol content but who still test over the legal limit because of a rising blood alcohol level. In these cases, an effective Pasadena DUI attorney can use the test results to argue that the person was actually below the legal limit at the time of driving and thus DUI charges should not apply to them. A Pasadena DUI attorney may also be able to challenge the reliability of the breath testing device based on its calibration and/or maintenance records.
If you have been charged with a DUI offense in Pasadena and you have taken either the breath or blood test, it is very important that you meet with a Pasadena DUI attorney right away. An effective DUI attorney can fight the breath test results and show how they may be unreliable. Pasadena DUI Attorney Michael Kraut is a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience, including previous service as a Senior Trial Prosecutor assigned to the Pasadena Courthouse. As a result, Mr. Kraut is highly regarded throughout Pasadena for his extensive knowledge of DUI law and procedure and his unmatched litigation skills.
For more information about Pasadena breath testing, and to schedule your free consultation, contact Pasadena DUI Attorney Michael Kraut at the Kraut Law Group located at 790 East Colorado Boulevard, 9th Floor, Pasadena, CA 91101. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 888-334-6344 or 626-345-1899.