The most common tool law enforcement uses when pulling someone over for a suspected DUI in California is a breathalyzer test to test blood alcohol levels. This test, administered through a special device, seems very official. It also seems as if it is completely accurate and provides true results. If you fail the test, then you are drunk, right? The answer here may not be what you think.
According to the National Motorist Association, in studies on the accuracy of breathalyzers, it was found they had a very high error rate. Most often, the errors produced positive results when in fact the actual alcohol in the person’s system was well below the legal limit. These false positives could lead to you spending the night in jail for something you did not do.
A breathalyzer does not really test your blood alcohol content. BAC is a very reliable way to determine intoxication, but you can only get that number through a blood test. A breathalyzer actually tests your breath alcohol content, which is not very accurate or reliable. Many things could affect your breath alcohol content and make the test results incorrect.
This is why many DUI arrests do not rely on a breathalyzer test alone. Law enforcement and the courts know these tests are not accurate. So, in addition to it, you may also have to do field sobriety tests. In some cases, you may be taken to get your BAC as well. This information is for education only. It is not legal advice.