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Use of Breathalyzer Phone Apps Might Cause a DUI Arrest

Sep 1st, 2016 Breath Testing

It is well known that the legal limit in Michigan is .08.  This means if the police breath, blood or urine test show that you are at or above .08, you can be convicted of DUI in Michigan – even if you are driving perfectly well!

It is not unlawful however, in Michigan or any other state, to drink and drive.  Drinking and driving becomes unlawful only if the prosecutor can show that the alcohol caused you to become impaired or intoxicated.

In order to drive safely, some people buy breath testing machines or breathalyzer apps to test their breath before they hit the road.  Trouble is, these apps can be wrong.  So wrong in fact, that they will say you are safe to drive when you’re really more than twice the legal limit.

For example, according to Today News, a bunch of party goers had the breath tested by various breathalyzer apps and by the police.  Here are the results:

LouAnn: Breathometer 0.06, Alcohoot 0.162, BACtrack 0.21, police 0.175

Jeremy: Breathometer 0.05, Alcohoot 0.107, BACtrack 0.143, police 0.119

Tali: Breathometer 0.07, Alcohoot 0.078, BACtrack 0.1, police 0.08

Of course there is more than one way to read these results.  Breath testing is simply an inexact science no matter who is doing the testing.  Just because the police test said one thing, does not mean the police test is right and the other tests are wrong.

What the article does not talk about is verification.  Was the accuracy of any of these breath tests or breathalyzer apps tested against a NIST traceable standard?  When was the last time the accuracy of any of these machines or breathalyzer apps last tested?  Is there a none confidence interval that can be associated with any of them?

All of these questions are equally applicable to the tests the police do to test your breath before and after they arrest.  Often, once the tests are rigorously investigated, they will be found wanting.

Unfortunately, if the police tests are wrong, people are wrongfully convicted of a crime they did not commit.

Regardless, there is word of caution due here: if you’ve been drinking, don’t rely on breathalyzer apps to decide whether or not to drive.

If you have been arrested in Michigan for DUI and took a breath test, talk with the attorneys at the Barone Defense Firm.  The consultation is free, but the advice might be priceless!