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Atlanta Breath Test

In Georgia, there is an Implied Consent Law, which states that any licensed driver has agreed to submit to a chemical test if police have probable cause to believe they have been drinking and driving. Of the three chemical tests (blood, breath and urine), breath tests are administered by police officers.

The Intoxilyzer 5000

Police like the portability of this machine because it can be conducted during the traffic stop. Georgia’s police departments are now using the Intoxilyzer 5000 series from CMI. This breath test machine is the most common form of checking a person’s blood alcohol content (BAC). While breath tests are the least accurate of the three, police typically use them because this is the only chemical test they are allowed to administer. Blood and urine tests must be conducted by qualified medical professionals at a hospital.

As you can probably imagine, CMI is very secretive about the Intoxilyzer’s programming. Yet this machine is the target of hot debates and numerous articles have been published about this breath test device. What good defense attorneys do know about the Intoxilzyer is that it works by using infrared spectroscopy. This really means that a beam of light goes through your breath sample.

Taking The Breath Test

In order to obtain your breath sample, police will ask you to blow into the tube mounted on this device. In mere seconds, it can provide a reading of your BAC. If you’re over Georgia’s limit of .08%, you are DUI. When light passes through the sample, any ethyl alcohol found will absorb the light. Whatever light is not absorbed, the machine will read and then multiply it by 2100 and convert it to a BAC level.

And what a good defense attorney knows is that any compound containing the methyl group of molecules will absorb the light. While it’s true that one of the methyl groups is ethyl alcohol (found in alcohol drinks), there are many other methyl groups that can absorb this light, too! In fact, studies have shown that there are over 100 compounds on your breath that can contain the methyl group. Think about it…chewing gum, cough syrup, mints these contain alcohol!

So while your breath test result may look like bad news, a smart defense attorney will know this is not necessarily a slam dunk case against you. Contact our law office now by completing a free case evaluation, or pick up the phone and call Kohn & Yager.