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DUI » DUI Testing » Blood Alcohol Testing

Blood Alcohol Testing Information

When an individual is suspected of driving under the influence, law enforcement officials will test his / her blood alcohol content (BAC) to see if it exceeds the 0.08 percent legal limit. After conducting these tests, if the driver's BAC is higher than 0.08 percent, then he / she will be arrested and charged. There are three main ways to test a driver's BAC level: blood test, breathalyzer test or urine test.

Breathalyzer Tests

Breathalyzer machines are the most common modality for testing a driver's BAC level. In Florida, most law enforcement officers use a device called the Intoxilyzer 8000. When the driver blows into the machine, the Intoxilyzer measures the concentration of alcohol found within the driver's deep lung region, also called the "alveoli." It is believed that the concentration of alcohol found in the lung region correlates to the amount of alcohol found in the blood. However, the Intoxilyzer 8000 and other breathalyzer machines can only estimate a driver's BAC level, and are subject to error. There are many reasons why an Intoxilyzer 8000 may give inaccurate readings, including:

  • Machine malfunctions;
  • Radio frequency interference;
  • Improper use;
  • Unqualified or inexperienced use of the machine;
  • Mouth alcohol contamination; and
  • Body temperature inaccuracies

Blood Tests

Another way to test a driver's BAC is to conduct a blood test. Blood tests are much more accurate than breathalyzer tests. In order to conduct a blood test, the driver is taken to the police station where a trained technician will administer the test. The technician will analyze driver's blood in a laboratory to determine if BAC levels are higher than 0.08%. Because blood tests are more accurate than breathalyzer tests, people who believe they were not drunk at the time they were arrested, prefer to take a blood test. However, because blood tests are more accurate, it is harder to challenge them if the results show BAC was higher than 0.08%.

Urine Tests

Urine tests are commonly used to determine if an individual was driving under the influence of drugs. If a police officer suspects an individual is driving under the influence of drugs, he / she will be escorted back to the police station where they must urinate in a plastic cup to be analyzed by a trained technician. Urine tests are much harder to challenge in court because they are extremely accurate at detecting the presence of drugs or alcohol in the body.

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