How Do Breathalyzers Work?

May 27, 2010

A breathalyzer or breathalyser (a hybird of breath and analyzer/analyser) is a device for estimating blood alcohol content (BAC) from a breath sample. Breathalyzer is the brand for the instrument developed by its original inventor. It was registered as a trademark ,but the word has become generic and is commonly applied to all devices used to gauge BAC.

What Type of Breathalyzers are Used in Saskatchewan?

Any officer, police or RCMP, may request a roadside sobriety test if they believe an individual has been driving while impaired. The devices used vary by jurisdiction and require regular maintenance and calibration to remain accurate. There are many devices they can use to perform these tests, such as the Breathalyzer, Intoxilyzer, Alco-Sur, and Alco-Sensor; however, there are other ways of testing your blood alcohol content (BAC). At the Law Office of Regina Criminal Lawyers, our drunk driving lawyers will ensure that the method used to gauge your sobriety at the time of arrest was appropriate and accurate under the circumstances.

Drivers who are considered by the police to be impaired based on their driving behavior or have more than 80mg of alcohol in 100 milliliters of blood (often referred to as the .08 or 80mg%) are considered to have committed an offence under the Criminal Code of Canada.

If it was determined that you had been operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol during the roadside sobriety tests, you may be moved to the police headquarters for further testing. The prosecution will often provide an approximation of alcohol concentration at the time of driving utilizing retrograde extrapolation. This estimate of your legal level of intoxication would be presented by a third party expert witness. This process involves projecting back in time (retrograde) to estimate the BAC level at the time of driving by applying the physiological properties of absorption and elimination rates in the human body. At the Law Office of Regina Criminal Lawyers, we understand this is an approximation and are prepared to fight for your rights.

Can I Refuse the Breathalyzer?

Yes. But the officer will likely assume the worst about your current condition. You will have a limited defense to their subjective judgment of your state and ability to operate a motor vehicle. Your driver’s license may be suspended or cancelled if you’re stopped by law enforcement and you fail to comply with a demand, for example refusing a breath test or Standard Field Sobriety Test (SFST).

Contact Our DUI Defense Today

If you have further questions about the operation, maintenance, and accuracy of road side breathalyzers, and how to defend your good record from an impaired driving charge, contact Regina Criminal Lawyers today.