Breath Machines

Austin, Texas DWI / DUI AttorneysBreath machines are devices used to measure the blood alcohol content (BAC) of a suspected drunk driver by analysis of a breath sample. The state of Texas uses a machine called the Intoxilyzer 5000. The suspected drunk driver blows into a breath tube on the Intoxilyzer 5000, which leads into a breath chamber cylinder. Infrared light shines through this cylinder, causing the alcohol molecules to absorb light at a particular frequency. This frequency is computed by the machine into a value for breath alcohol content.

If you've been charged with a DWI after an Intoxilyzer test, do not risk your freedom or your future. You need the Austin, TX DWI defense attorneys at Minton, Burton, Bassett, & Collins, P.C. We have successfully challenged test results, and we may be able to help you. Call us today at (512) 476-4873 or contact us via email. We have helped clients charged with a DWI or a DUI in Travis, Williamson, Hays, Bastrop, Caldwell, Burnet and Comal counties.

The problem with Intoxilyzer technology is that the machine uses complex calculations to convert the light reading into BAC, and there has been significant debate surrounding the accuracy of the Intoxilyzer 5000. While those in favor of this machine claim it only reads light absorbed by alcohol, others claim the machine misreads other substances in the breath as alcohol – which may artificially inflate the BAC reading.

According to Texas law, Intoxilyzer technology is considered acceptable if the machine performs within a plus or minus 10% accuracy rate – which basically means the machine could have a 20% variance in accurate readings. So even though the machines routinely used by police officers are tested, as long as the testing shows results within that variance, they are deemed acceptable for use. This means that if you are stopped for suspected drunk driving and asked to submit a sample for the breath test, you could show a BAC of .08 even if your actual alcohol level is below that threshold. This is a minute difference – but one that determines whether you meet the legal definition of intoxication.

The Intoxilyzer also functions under the assumption that everyone's ratio of blood to breath is the same – but that isn't true. Some people may have lower levels, which can cause the test to register a higher result. People suffering from fever may also produce a higher alcohol level reading, even if they have consumed very little alcohol. Other factors that can temporarily raise your mouth alcohol and skew the results include:

  • Belching or burping before taking the test
  • Vomiting before taking the test
  • Hiccupping before taking the test
  • Having blood in your mouth

Essentially, when you take an Intoxilyzer test, you run the risk of a high reading beyond the legal limit – even if you have consumed less alcohol than is legally allowed. And that places you at high risk for DWI charges, regardless of your alcohol consumption or driving performance. The attorneys at Minton, Burton, Bassett, & Collins often contest the results of these tests, and we believe your privilege to drive shouldn't be revoked because of a flawed measurement technique.

If you have been charged with a DWI based upon a high Intoxilyzer reading, don't let inaccurate testing methods ruin your future. If you or a family member has been charged with a DWI, you have 15 days from the date the arresting officer serves you with a notice of suspension to request a hearing to contest the suspension or your license will be suspended. Usually, the deadline to request a hearing is 15 days after your DWI arrest.

Contact the Texas drunk driving attorneys at MBFC now by calling (512) 476-4873 or contact us via email. We will defend your rights and reputation.

We have 45 years of experience representing clients in Austin, TX and the surrounding communities, including: Travis County (Creedmoor, Elroy, Manor, Pflugerville); Williamson County (Cedar Park, Georgetown, Liberty Hill, Florence, Leander, Round Rock, Taylor); Hays County (Buda, Dripping Springs, Kyle, San Marcos, Wimberley); Bastrop County (Bastrop, Clearview, Elgin, Rockne, Smithville); Caldwell County (Lockhart, Luling); Burnet County (Bertram, Burnet, Marble Falls); and Comal County (Bulverde, Canyon Lake, Gruene, New Braunfels, Sattler, Startzville).

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Michael Burnett -

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