As many know, a breathalyzer is a machine that police officers and prosecutors often use to measure a person's blood alcohol level (BAC), when they feel a person is driving under the influence. How a breathalyzer works is, it takes a small sample of a person's breath and estimates how much alcohol is in the sample. Then the officers and prosecutors use these results to estimate how much alcohol is in a person's blood. In the state of Arizona, the legal limit of a person 21 years and older is a BAC of 0.08%. If a person is asked to perform a breath analysis test and the machine records the person's BAC as over the legal limit, then they will be arrested and prosecuted for DUI, and the breathalyzer results could become central to the prosecution's case.
Here at the Rosenstein Law Group we pride ourselves on having some of the most knowledgeable DUI professionals among our staff. With mandatory jail time and extremely high fines for first time offenders, the state of Arizona is known for having the strictest DUI laws across the country. Therefore, if you ever find yourself accused in Arizona for a DUI, you will the services of experienced and knowledgeable attorneys like ours to navigate you out of the criminal justice system.
Nowadays, with technology being essential in daily life, there is an "app" for pretty much everything and anything you want. Recently BACtrack, a breathalyzer brand trusted by schools, hospitals, and law enforcement, released a new form of breathalyzer called the BACtrack Mobile Breathalyzer. This new product is a compact breathalyzer, which costs around $150. It also has a mobile app anyone with a smart phone can download and use to track their blood alcohol content (BAC) whenever they've had an alcoholic beverage.
In our last two blog entries, we discussed two ways that a DUI case can resolve in Arizona: (1) through a plea agreement or (2) through a trial. Now we will discuss the third way: through a dismissal of the case.
Time and time again in Arizona DUI cases, I have seen a very real, recurring problem in the blood testing that occurs to determine the BAC (blood alcohol content) of the person accused of a DUI. The problem lies with the amount of blood drawn from the person.
The following scenario is becoming more and more prevalent in Arizona. A person is pulled over for some very minor driving offense (like having a license plate light out or turning into the middle lane and not the curb lane), and a police officer approaches and asks if they've had anything to drink. The person then honestly answers that they've had one beer with dinner. That person trusts police officers, so, even though they do not believe they were driving while impaired, they comply with every request, hoping to be let go, only to be told that they've failed all of the balancing tests and are being arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence. The person's car is then towed, and he or she is taken to a police station and held until a phlebotomist arrives and draws his or her blood. The person's blood alcohol level is accurately tested, and it comes in as expected: way below the legal limit, perhaps a 0.00 BAC.
In Arizona, there is only one approved breath alcohol testing device for DUI suspects - the Intoxilyzer 8000. This breath test machine works by utilizing an infrared light as its primary detection mechanism for breath alcohol concentration (BAC). As a result, it is important that there is not any radio frequency devices anywhere near the breath test machine while it is testing someone's breath for alcohol. If the device encounters radio frequencies, they could interfere with the test and drastically inflate the reported breath alcohol results!
When a person is arrested in Arizona for driving under the influence (DUI), and a blood sample is drawn, the arresting officer is required to advise the person that they may have an independent test of their blood performed. However, in Arizona it is very difficult to find a facility willing to draw blood after business hours (typically when a DUI arrest occurs), and test it for alcohol concentration. By the time the person finds such a facility, secures transportation to that facility, and waits for blood to be drawn, many hours have passed. Due to the fact that alcohol disappears from one's system over time, this is can be an important issue.
What happens if I don't want to give blood, breath, or urine to an Arizona police officer during a DUI investigation? Well, in Arizona, by getting an Arizona driver's license, or even by driving on our streets, you have given your consent to submit to a police officer's request for a blood, breath or urine sample. Ask any experienced DUI defense attorney how many low BACs (from .000 to .05) they see in the lists of the state's blood test results, and you'll understand how many people are being forced to give a sample of their blood to police officers every day in Arizona. And there are consequences if you refuse to submit a sample.
Forensic blood testing is misleading because blood tests in DUI cases don't actually test your blood. If you have ever been arrested for a DUI in Arizona, and the officers or their proxies drew blood, then you are likely aware that two 10 ml grey top tubes of blood are drawn for a blood test. The myth is that one tube is preserved for you (the defendant), and the other is tested by the State's crime lab.