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The breath alcohol test in Virginia is the most common chemical testing done in a Virginia DUI case. The breath alcohol breath test requires you to blow into a machine that measures your breath alcohol content (BrAC). The Breath Alcohol Test is supposed to be an indirect measurement of your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC). There are two types of breath alcohol breath tests given in Virginia – the portable breath test (PBT) and the evidentiary breath test. If you take either of these test you need a Virginia DUI Lawyer who understands the science behind these machines and knows how to challenge the validity of the test result in your case.
The PBT is a handheld alcohol test device that is often given on the side of the road. These are the most unreliable of the blood alcohol breath tests. The exact BAC number the machine provides is often not admissible in court, but may be admissible if your attorney challenges the probable cause the officer had to arrest you for a DUI in Virginia. These machines do not have the same filters the evidentiary machine is supposed to have.
They are also highly susceptible to weather temperatures and other factors that affect their reliability. Refusing to submit to the PBT does not violate Virginia’s Implied Consent law.
The evidentiary breath test is the test you take after you have been arrested and taken to the police station. There has been a lot of litigation across the nation about the reliability of these machines. There are a number of factors that affect the reliability of the results these machines produce, but courts – while acknowledging there are problems with the machines – have made it the duty of the your defense attorney to prove the machine malfunctioned in your particular case.
Both of these machines fail to take into account several factors that would determine your actual BAC, including, but not limited to your gender, your lung capacity, and various medical conditions.
Whether you take the PBT or the Evidentiary Blood Alcohol Breath Test is your choice. There are consequences for refusing the Evidentiary Blood Alcohol Breath Test that may include a longer license suspension. Refusing the test does not guarantee you will not be convicted, but may help you avoid certain penalties if your BAC is .15 or higher. Contact Harrisonburg DUI Attorney Bob Keefer for a free confidential case review before taking a breath test!