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How Important Are Breathalyzers in DUI Court Cases?

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If you or a friend has ever been pulled over for a traffic violation or suspected of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you may have been asked to submit to a breathalyzer test. The breathalyzer test consists of breathing into a small plastic tube that is attached to a device that can measure the levels of alcohol in the lungs and bloodstream. This is called the “blood alcohol limit” (BAC) and it is how the authorities can tell if you have had too much to drink and may be breaking the law by driving yourself home from that party. The breathalyzer has been an invaluable tool for law enforcement for many years. However, if it is determined that your BAC is above legal limits, how important is this evidence when dealing with the actual DUI court case?


Breathalyzer tests are generally the fastest and most effective way to determine if a driver has had too much to drink, so that the law enforcement officers can act quickly to arrest and get that person off the street. This prevents countless numbers of DUI-related accidents and deaths every year. If a suspect refuses to submit to the breathalyzer test, they can be arrested and detained for a blood test based on suspicion of DUI, so in most cases they will agree to be tested on the spot. Then this evidence is used when it comes time for them to report to the judge in court to answer for their actions. It’s very hard to argue against scientific evidence that the breathalyzer tests provide, similar to DNA evidence, there’s no denying it once it is submitted to the court.


The breathalyzer saves countless lives. Sometimes even knowing they could be tested with a breathalyzer will deter drinkers from getting behind the wheel, so there’s no way to tell how many lives are saved by programs like this in addition to designated driver campaigns. Breathalyzers are cost effective ways to prevent a very expensive hazard on the roads as well, costing on average only $97 per unit. That’s fairly insignificant as it concerns life-saving equipment and other tools that the law enforcement division has to work with. And it’s much less costly than a human life by any measure.


The breathalyzer test has come up against some scrutiny when it comes to how well they accurately test for the presence of alcohol in the bloodstream. Research shows that in a very small number of cases, the breathalyzer results can show a higher BAC percentage, leaving doubts as to the validity of the tests or the testing devices themselves. A false positive on a breathalyzer can result in an innocent person being convicted of a DUI when they were actually within legal limits for alcohol consumption. That opens up a can of worms when considering the personal, legal and financial costs this can cause. A false positive can occur if the breathalyzer unit is defective or tampered with, something that law enforcement agencies do their best to avoid. The benefits of the breathalyzer test far outweigh any possible negatives. The evidence provided by the breathalyzer test is considered very important evidence that is very hard to dispute therefore it is likely that the offender will place a guilty plea and they will pay the price for their lack of responsibility.


In conclusion, the breathalyzer test is a valuable and important test, with evidence that’s nearly impossible to dispute in a court of law. Most of all, it saves lives.
 

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