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The Breathalyzer Flaws California DUI Lawyers Are Talking About

Posted by Jason Beahm | Aug 17, 2015 | 0 Comments

If you are stopped for suspicion of DUI in California, you will likely be asked to take a Preliminary Alcohol Screening (PAS). A PAS device is a portable breath tester used by California police including California Highway Patrol (CHP), or Federal National Park Service Police Officers. Typically the Alco Sensor IV manufactured by Intoximeters Inc. is used during DUI arrest investigations.

The Alco Sensor IV provides a supposedly scientific method of determining a suspect's breath alcohol concentration. Under California law, breath tests must be conducted in compliance with California Code of Regulations, specifically, Title 17. Under Title 17, prior to the suspect blowing into the PAS device, they must be observed for fifteen minutes, and a minimum of two breath samples must be collected. Often these rules are not complied with, which can significant boost your case. Interestingly, law enforcement officers are not always trained at the academy on these devices, and instead sometimes receive in service training or even no training at all. I have found that often California DUI lawyers have more experience with breath testing machines than the police officers on the street.

Further, breath testing machines often malfunction, leading to incorrectly high blood alcohol readings, sample volume miscalculations, and unexplained BAC readouts. False positives can result from diabetes, mouthwash, working near paint thinners, heartburn or other gastrointestinal related illnesses. The manufacturers want you to believe that their machines are always accurate. Have you ever known of a machine to be accurate 100% of time? As a California DUI lawyer, I am well aware of the serious issues of reliability as to breathalyzer machines.

As Charles Short said in GUILT BY MACHINE:

Breath testing machines are no more infallible than any other machine. Source code litigants have identified a litany of potential errors that can be uncovered by a forensic expert's examination of the [breath testing machine] software.

Many potential clients think that if they were arrested and took a breath test that was at or over 0.08% BAC, there is nothing they can do. I firmly disagree. Every case can and should be fought. If the police arrested you under illegal condition, lab results were purposely manipulated or ignored, or evidence was illegally obtained or fabricated we can prove this to the court and establish your innocence. Depending on how severely this impacts the prosecutor's case, he may choose to reduce or dismiss your charges.

Don't give up. We are here to help. 844-811-5444

About the Author

Jason Beahm

Founding Attorney Profile Credentials Associations Bio Jason Beahm is the Founder and President of Beahm Law. Voted “Best of SF” four out of the past five years by SF Weekly Magazine, Attorney Beahm practices in the areas of DUI, criminal defense, and personal injury. He is passionate ...


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