March 20, 2020 | DUI Defense
A breathalyzer test calculates your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) by measuring the amount of alcohol on your breath. What most people do not realize is that alcohol can remain on your breath for up to 12 to 24 hours after your last alcoholic drink. Therefore, you could easily “fail” a breathalyzer test the morning after consuming alcohol.
If you are arrested based on the results of a breathalyzer, contact our Louisville DUI lawyers to discuss your case. You may have one or more DUI defenses that can result in a dismissal of charges or a reduction in charges. The first step is to reach out for advice instead of accepting a plea deal from the prosecutor.
How Does Alcohol Leave the Body?
Alcohol is metabolized (breaks down) the same way for every person. However, other factors impact how quickly alcohol may leave the body, such as the amount and type of alcohol consumed, metabolism, gender, medications, age, and weight. The liver metabolizes alcohol, but about 10 percent of the alcohol leaves the body through our breath, sweat, and urine.
In most cases, the liver can break down alcohol at a rate of about 0.015g per hour. That equals about one standard drink. However, when a person’s BAC reaches 0.08, it can take up to six hours or longer for the body to break down the alcohol.
It is important to remember that not everyone metabolizes alcohol in the same way. The above factors can increase the time it takes for a person’s body to flush the alcohol out of the body. Also, there is no way to speed up how your body metabolizes alcohol.
Detecting Blood in Your System
There are a variety of ways that alcohol can be detected in a person’s system. Police officers typically use breathalyzers to calculate a person’s BAC. They may also use blood tests and urine tests to determine a person’s blood alcohol concentration.
The type of test conducted impacts the time period for detecting alcohol in a person’s system. In general, alcohol can be detected for up to:
- 6 hours in the blood
- 12 to 24 hours on the breath
- 12 to 24 hours in urine (longer depending on the type of test conducted)
- 90 days in the hair
Therefore, you could be arrested for drunk driving hours or even the next day, depending on how much you had to drink and the other factors that impact how fast your body eliminates alcohol from your system.
Are You Aware of Kentucky’s Implied Consent Laws?
If you operate a motor vehicle in Kentucky, you consent to provide a blood or breath test if a police officer suspects drunk driving. Provided that a police officer has probable cause (a reasonable suspicion) that you are driving under the influence, you are required to submit to a chemical or breath test, if requested.
You can refuse to submit to BAC testing. However, under implied consent laws, refusing to submit to a breathalyzer or chemical testing results in a suspended driver’s license.
Even if you are ultimately found innocent of all DUI charges, you still lose your driving privileges for the same time as if you had been found guilty. Refusing a BAC test can also be used against you in court.
In some cases, police officers can obtain a search warrant to compel you to submit to a blood test. However, Kentucky state laws only allow police officers to take a blood test without consent if the case involves a death or physical injury to a person.
DUI Defenses to Breathalyzer Tests
If you consent to a breathalyzer test, that does not mean the prosecution can use the results of the breathalyzer test in court. Several DUI defenses may result in the breathalyzer test being thrown out. Other DUI defenses attack the validity of a test, even if the results are admitted in court.
DUI defenses used to attack a breathalyzer test include, but are not limited to:
- Failure to maintain the breathalyzer machine properly.
- There are insufficient records to prove periodic accuracy checks and calibrations of the breathalyzer.
- The person administering the breathalyzer test was not trained or qualified to administer the test.
- You have medical conditions or take medications that can create a false or inflated result.
- Failing to follow protocols for administering a breathalyzer test.
- The breathalyzer machine malfunctioned or was defective.
- The police officer lacked probable cause for the traffic stop.
Contact a Louisville DUI Defense Attorney to Fight Breathalyzer Results
A DUI arrest or breathalyzer results do not equal a DUI conviction. Before you plead guilty to a drunk driving charge, contact our Louisville DUI defense attorney to discuss your legal rights and options for fighting a DUI charge.
To learn more, call our Louisville criminal defense law firm at (502) 371-7000 or visit our contact us page to send us an email.