The Truth About Breathalyzers Police Use

Written by Reynolds Defense Firm

On June 1, 2018

What Is a Breathalyzer?

There are two types of breathalyzers that police officers use throughout the United States.  Typically, they are either small, hand-held devices or larger ones found in police stations. If you are pulled over by a police officer in Oregon and they suspect you are driving under the influence of an intoxicant (DUI), a breathalyzer may be used to help verify their suspicions.

In Oregon, if a police officer suspects you are impaired, you will likely not be offered to blow into a handheld device at your vehicle.  Typically, if they suspect that you are driving while impaired, you will be arrested for suspicion of DUII and brought to a police station to test your blood alcohol content (BAC).  The machine most often used for this in Oregon is called the Intoxilyzer 8000.  If the machine determines you have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 percentage or higher, you will be presumed as legally intoxicated. The reading from the breathalyzer may also be used as evidence against you in court.

 

How Does A Breathalyzer Work?

The Intoxilyzer 8000 is designed to analyze breath samples to determine a person’s BAC level.   If you consent to a breath test in Oregon, the Intoxilyzer 8000 will take two breath samples.  Those breath samples are separated by a few minutes.  Once you blow and provide a sample for analysis, the machine uses a series of formulas to determine what the BAC of that person would be.

 

Why Do I have To Go To A Police Station For A “Breath Test” in Oregon?

Since small, hand-held breathalyzers are generally unreliable enough to provide evidence in court, in Oregon, those arrested for a DUI are typically brought to the police station to use the larger devices such as the Intoxilyzer 8000. To reduce faulty readings, all breath alcohol testers used by law enforcement in the US must be approved by the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.  They are also inspected, re-calibrated, and certified several times per year.  These machines are different from personal hand-held breathalyzers, and while there are many devices that are available for consumer use, in Oregon, the police standard is the only standard that is considered in court.  The Oregon police standard is to use the Intoxilyzer 8000 machine to administer a breath test.  Once again, if you blow a .08 or higher, you will be presumed as legally intoxicated.

 

I Blew Into A Breathalyzer at an Oregon Police Station And Was Cited For a DUI.  What Do I Do?

If you were cited for a DUI in Oregon after completing a breath test, Reynolds Defense Firm can help.  Whether you choose us, or hire another law firm for help, we urge you to act quickly.  A DUI citation carries serious consequences, and these matters are time sensitive.  Should you or someone you know need additional assistance after your arrest, do not hesitate to contact our firm.  You can call our office at 503.223.3422 fill out a contact form for a complimentary consultation.

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