New York drivers have often been pulled over for alleged drunken driving while registering scores of .3 or .4 percent on a breathalyzer test. Yet few people ever question if such results are legitimate. The dilemma for defendants is that a higher reading may lead to longer jail sentences and more significant fines. And if an individual refuses to comply with such a request there is an instant presumption on the part of many individuals that such a refusal is tantamount to a confession of guilt.
A challenge is being made in another east coast state regarding a breathalyzer reading where the level of alcohol was determined to be .384. An employee in the field of addiction recovery stated that for such a reading to be accurate, the driver would likely have been dead.
This authority working in a recovery center reasoned that a man of average size would have had to consume 20 drinks an hour before the breathalyzer test was administered to register a .384. For a young individual that has not developed a tolerance for liquor, consuming this amount of alcohol would have been the same as being poisoned.
This same authority went onto say that it would have been extremely difficult even to function at a level of .384 if the alcohol did not kill him. The individual in question may not have been able to even put the keys in the ignition.
What this tells us is that it's not unreasonable for a suspect to refuse to take a breathalyzer test. A false reading could lead to the presumption of guilt. Attorneys thus have the right to challenge breathalyzer results in court because such evidence has to be reliable for the court to admit it.
Source: UPI.com, "Driver's Breathalyzer results questioned," March 28, 2012
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