Call for a Free Case Evaluation!
Available 24/7 714.907.4029
Orange County DUI Defense

Representing Clients in
All Orange County Courts

Our Proven Methods Will Be Your Peace of Mind

Free DUI Case Evaluation

California Breathalyzer Laws

Overview of Breathalyzer Tests in Orange County, CA

A breathalyzer test is a common form of chemical test used to determine a driver's blood alcohol concentration (BAC) if they are suspected of driving while intoxicated. Often used in conjunction with field sobriety tests and the officer's observation of the individual, breath test results can be used by the prosecution in their attempts to have the defendant convicted of a DUI.

The breathalyzer works by measuring the level of alcohol found on the individual's breath. The driver blows into the machine, which then analyzes the sample of breath from their deep lung region, which is believed to be an accurate indicator of the driver's BAC. This sample is measured and the BAC is determined from the driver's breath alcohol concentration.

At Gold & Witham, we understand that breath tests are subject to operator error, mechanical issues, and a number of other factors which will all skew the results. It is our job as DUI lawyers representing the accused to prove that a breath test is wrong—and we do it every day.

What factors can affect breath test results?

In California, if a driver has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher, he or she is considered to be driving under the influence. The penalties for a DUI conviction can be severe, including license suspension, jail time, fines, installation of an ignition interlock device, and community service. A DUI attorney will look to a number of factors in determining how to best defend a breathalyzer test result. A few examples are listed below:

  • Did the officer observe you for 15 minutes prior to the test? The officer is required to do this, to watch for conditions that affect breathalyzer test results.
  • Do you have acid reflux or another gastroesophageal reflux disease?
  • Was there a machine present that may have altered the readout of the breath test device?
  • Was the machine properly calibrated?
  • Was the machine properly maintained and cleaned?
  • Did the officer use the machine correctly?

What breath tests are used in California?

In most cases when a driver is pulled over by a law enforcement official in California, they will have to submit to a PAS test. This stands for "preliminary alcohol screening." This is a type of chemical testing device used to give a measure of BAC. This and other types of chemical tests can inaccurately reflect actual intoxication because it measures the amount of alcohol present on a person's breath and then translates this into an estimate of how much alcohol is in the blood.

Factors that can affect the PAS and other tests are how soon before driving you drank and whether or not you recently consumed any food. Even some types of food can give a false breath test reading. Because of California's implied consent laws, according to the DMV, those pulled over under suspicion of drunk driving must submit to a chemical test or blood test. Only those under 21 are required to submit to a PAS test, because it is considered a field sobriety test only.

Fight back with our Orange County DUI attorneys!

Although taking a breathalyzer test and getting a high result may make it seem as though you will inevitably be convicted, there are a number of DUI defenses that an experienced lawyer can use. Many drivers believe they have to simply accept their charges and plead guilty, but this is not the case—you can challenge your DUI allegations. Our experienced firm recognizes that breath machines are not infallible and there are many ways in which we can build your defense.

If your test involved one of the factors listed above or some other factor that you believe may have invalidated your BAC reading, do not hesitate to contact an Orange County DUI lawyer at our firm. We can investigate the circumstances of your arrest and all evidence brought against you to build a powerful defense against your charges; we can move to have your case dismissed if you were wrongfully charged. Why wait another moment? Call our team of Orange County DUI defense lawyers today to enlist aggressive advocacy for your DUI charges!