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The Breathalyzer: Making quick work of DWI/DUI tests since 1954

by Apr 6, 2011DWI / DUI, Sam Edmunds

1954: Marilyn Monroe married Joe DiMaggio, RCA manufactured the first color TV set, and the New York Giants won the World Series.

It’s also the year that the Breathalyzer was invented. It was developed in response to the need for a quicker – and more portable – alternative to blood and urine tests. Today, police officers widely depend upon Breathalyzers to measure blood alcohol content in the field.

How does a Breathalyzer work? Some of the alcohol that absorbs into your bloodstream evaporates into the air in your lungs. A formula can be applied to the concentration of alcohol in your breath in order to determine your BAC, or Blood Alcohol Content.

The Breathalyzer may have been around for more than five decades, but it is far from foolproof. In the United States, there are strict regulations placed on administration of Breathalyzer tests. Many people simply assume that a Breathalyzer test is as straightforward as the S.A.T., but factors like operator procedure and timing are crucial to ensure an accurate result.

This is one test they didn’t cover in school, so if you’re given a Breathalyzer test, you’ll want to consult an expert. The right lawyer can help you determine if your test results can be challenged.

Source: Craig Freudenrich, Ph.D.

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