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Posted: 11/15/2010 11:42:04 AM EST
[Last Edit: 12/17/2010 6:03:21 AM EST by JellyBelly]
I have a co-worker who is in a diversion program for a 3rd offense drunk driving arrest. If convicted it'll be a felony.

He is not drinking. Having grown up around alcoholics I've seen the change and believe 100% that he's sober. Once the legal issues go away he's interested in a live of sobriety. He's "seen the light" and changed from within. While I don't support what he did to be in trouble in the first place, I would hate to see him get kicked out of a program that's doing him some real good over an issue that's not his fault.

As a condition of his probation while in the diversion program, he has an at-home breathalyzer which goes off randomly during the evening hours (it's gone off at 4am before). he MUST blow .000 to stay in the program or he'll be kicked out and the felony charges will be pressed.

He had a bad blow. Over the course of 19 minutes he blew .025, then .001, then .000. It's my understanding that going from .025 to .000 in 19 minutes is impossible, especially for the metabolism of a 49 year old.

He wasn't drinking. The machine goofed. Now we need to figure out how.

There's going to be a subpoena on the machine and monitoring company (it's operated by a privately owned company) to find out what's going on inside the machine.

Does anyone know how a breathalyzer could give a false reading in such a way? Could there have been something in his environment (on his hands?) that could have altered the results?
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Link Posted: 11/15/2010 11:45:51 AM EST
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Link Posted: 11/15/2010 11:47:32 AM EST
[Last Edit: 11/15/2010 11:48:00 AM EST by Harlikwin]
They are in fact notoriously unreliable in my limited experience. The ones we had in the lab need constant recalibration. I would suggest your friend talk to lawyer if he has problems.
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Link Posted: 11/15/2010 11:47:59 AM EST
[Last Edit: 11/15/2010 11:48:20 AM EST by AR4U]
I would think putting any medical expert on the stand would indicate that those events aren't metabolically possible. Of course, the guy could've been three sheets to the wind and had someone else blow into the breathalyzer the second and third times.
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Link Posted: 11/15/2010 11:48:18 AM EST
Anything in the area of the machine that is releasing alcohol vapor (even breath mints) can cause a false reading IIRC.

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Link Posted: 11/15/2010 11:49:30 AM EST
Originally Posted By JellyBelly:
I have a co-worker who is in a diversion program for a 3rd offense drunk driving arrest. If convicted it'll be a felony.

He is not drinking. Having grown up around alcoholics I've seen the change and believe 100% that he's sober. Once the legal issues go away he's interested in a live of sobriety. He's "seen the light" and changed from within. While I don't support what he did to be in trouble in the first place, I would hate to see him get kicked out of a program that's doing him some real good over an issue that's not his fault.

As a condition of his probation while in the diversion program, he has an at-home breathalyzer which goes off randomly during the evening hours (it's gone off at 4am before). he MUST blow .000 to stay in the program or he'll be kicked out and the felony charges will be pressed.

He had a bad blow. Over the course of 19 minutes he blew .025, then .001, then .000. It's my understanding that going from .025 to .000 in 19 minutes is impossible, especially for the metabolism of a 49 year old.

He wasn't drinking. The machine goofed. Now we need to figure out how.

There's going to be a subpoena on the machine and monitoring company (it's operated by a privately owned company) to find out what's going on inside the machine.

Does anyone know how a breathalyzer could give a false reading in such a way? Could there have been something in his environment (on his hands?) that could have altered the results?


.000 is going to be damn hard to achieve for anyone, ever. There is some alcohol content in the blood of even non-drinkers. While Falling from .025 to .000 in 19 minutes seems unlikely to me, the premise of a program requiring .000 seems... fishy.

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Link Posted: 11/15/2010 11:50:37 AM EST
First of all, a "Breathalyzer" is a brand name piece of equipment thats no longer in service.

He has some sort of breath testing aparatus, but its not a Breathalyzer.
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Link Posted: 11/15/2010 11:55:40 AM EST

Originally Posted By tc556guy:
First of all, a "Breathalyzer" is a brand name piece of equipment thats no longer in service.

He has some sort of breath testing aparatus, but its not a Breathalyzer.

It's called "colloquialism." It's the way normal people speak when they aren't writing essays or filling out forms.
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Link Posted: 11/15/2010 11:57:15 AM EST
Originally Posted By tc556guy:
First of all, a "Breathalyzer" is a brand name piece of equipment thats no longer in service.

He has some sort of breath testing aparatus, but its not a Breathalyzer.


I didn't know that.

It's a "MIMS" or something like that.

Kinda like "Kleenex" or Xerox", it's just become a household name. "Styrofoam" is the worst. Things called that which aren't even styrofoam.

So, yeah, pretty much every kind of device built to determine your body's alcohol level which requires the test subject to blow into a tube attached to the device is going to be called a "breathalyzer" no matter it's actual name.
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Link Posted: 11/15/2010 12:02:24 PM EST
Originally Posted By Harlikwin:
They are in fact notoriously unreliable in my limited experience.


So what exactly is your limited experience and define "nortoriously"

Originally Posted By Harlikwin:
The ones we had in the lab need constant recalibration.


Sounds like you had some shitty equipment or weren't really that involved with the process. Our equipment must be checked weekly with a known concentration sample gas - if it's out by XX the analyzer goes to the manufacturer for repair. If the unit hasn't been checked it won't allow you run an evidentiary test until the weekly check has been done.

Originally Posted By Harlikwin:
I would suggest your friend talk to lawyer if he has problems.


This part is probably correct although I suspect there's a protocol/process for this type of situation.

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Link Posted: 11/15/2010 12:05:14 PM EST
Dunno. I blew a .07 then a .03 then a .00 on the side of the road over about 15-20 minutes. I assume the chp has their units calibrated but form almost the legal limit to nothing in 20 minutes????? Some shit is just not right and people goto jail over this shit.

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Link Posted: 11/15/2010 12:14:16 PM EST
Originally Posted By JellyBelly:
So, yeah, pretty much every kind of device built to determine your body's alcohol level which requires the test subject to blow into a tube attached to the device is going to be called a "breathalyzer" no matter it's actual name.


Since they work in different ways, its important to know what actual piece of equipment we're talking about.

I understand that the term" Breathalyzer" has become common parlance, but its inaccurate.
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Link Posted: 11/15/2010 12:16:40 PM EST
Originally Posted By ceverett:

.000 is going to be damn hard to achieve for anyone, ever. There is some alcohol content in the blood of even non-drinkers. While Falling from .025 to .000 in 19 minutes seems unlikely to me, the premise of a program requiring .000 seems... fishy.


Those sorts of things are taken into account in breath testing equipment and have been for years, even back in the Breathalyzer days.
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Link Posted: 11/15/2010 12:17:33 PM EST
Originally Posted By tc556guy:
Originally Posted By JellyBelly:
So, yeah, pretty much every kind of device built to determine your body's alcohol level which requires the test subject to blow into a tube attached to the device is going to be called a "breathalyzer" no matter it's actual name.


Since they work in different ways, its important to know what actual piece of equipment we're talking about.

I understand that the term" Breathalyzer" has become common parlance, but its inaccurate.


Does anyone still use the old spectrophotometric technique?
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Link Posted: 11/15/2010 12:22:44 PM EST
ahh if you drink a 5hour and blow into it after you may get a false positive

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Link Posted: 11/15/2010 12:23:23 PM EST
[Last Edit: 11/15/2010 12:26:13 PM EST by exwildlandfire]
I have a device installed in my pickup due to recieving my 2nd DUI....

Some breads and energy drinks will make it read up to a .03.....

I also have sprayed some deodorant in the pickup and had a "hot blow" a couple of minutes later....
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Link Posted: 11/15/2010 12:24:58 PM EST
Originally Posted By brian4wd:
Originally Posted By Harlikwin:
They are in fact notoriously unreliable in my limited experience.


So what exactly is your limited experience and define "nortoriously"

Originally Posted By Harlikwin:
The ones we had in the lab need constant recalibration.


Sounds like you had some shitty equipment or weren't really that involved with the process. Our equipment must be checked weekly with a known concentration sample gas - if it's out by XX the analyzer goes to the manufacturer for repair. If the unit hasn't been checked it won't allow you run an evidentiary test until the weekly check has been done.

Originally Posted By Harlikwin:
I would suggest your friend talk to lawyer if he has problems.


This part is probably correct although I suspect there's a protocol/process for this type of situation.

Brian



This was about a decade ago so you will have to forgive my memory as to the particulars like brand names etc. The .02c version is that we were running alcohol testing on different genetic background rats, and I was evaluating a system to see if we could get the rat drunk, throw it in a small chamber (plastic bag) and get the blood alcohol content. The system was supposedly purpose built for the task, but comparing it to traditional blood tests for alchol (slow/time consuming relatively speaking) it sucked ass, it was constantly off by some trivial or not so trivial amount. Therefore I had to calibrate the thing on a bi-daily basis at least. In the end we dumped it and went back to blood tests since they were more accurate even if they did take more time.

It might have been shitty machine, I don't know, but we had the vendor out there a lot initially to try to fix it, they never did, we even swapped units and the problem persisted.

Anyhow, my advice to anyone who is ever "offered" a roadside sobriety test, don't take the breath test, make em take you in and get the blood test.

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Link Posted: 11/15/2010 12:29:17 PM EST
Originally Posted By AR4U:
Does anyone still use the old spectrophotometric technique?


Everything that used to be done by Breathalyzers has been replaced by digital stuff with info sent over phone lines...Datamasters, Draegers and a variety of other brands.

You still have handheld screening devices..alcosensors, etc that officers use on the roadside, but thats what they are..a screening device that you use in conjuction with HGN and other FSTs and observations to build a case against the driver.
You can't even admit the results of a screening device as evidence at trial
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Link Posted: 11/15/2010 12:30:57 PM EST
There are lots of things in daily life that could cause a positive reading. The state knows that but really just doesnt care once you get into their system. There is a law on the books in maryland to make false readings (which are obvious) not apply. Just a hard sell since politicians want to be "hard on crime" and drunk driving is a crime that doesnt have a lobby. Tell them you were overbilling the government for contractor fees at the time and maybe they will let it go. Feel for him. Not a great situation. Drunk driving has casue lots of pain but dont like seeing government in peoples lives for non-violent crimes that didnt cost the world anything.

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Link Posted: 11/15/2010 12:33:58 PM EST
Originally Posted By JellyBelly:
He had a bad blow. Over the course of 19 minutes he blew .025, then .001, then .000. It's my understanding that going from .025 to .000 in 19 minutes is impossible, especially for the metabolism of a 49 year old.


I don't know anything about the machine itself, but it is physiologically impossible to go from a BAC of 0.25 to 0.00 in 19 minutes. Impossible for anyone.
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Link Posted: 11/15/2010 12:36:15 PM EST
Originally Posted By Justa_TXguy:
Originally Posted By JellyBelly:
He had a bad blow. Over the course of 19 minutes he blew .025, then .001, then .000. It's my understanding that going from .025 to .000 in 19 minutes is impossible, especially for the metabolism of a 49 year old.


I don't know anything about the machine itself, but it is physiologically impossible to go from a BAC of 0.25 to 0.00 in 19 minutes. Impossible for anyone.


Yeah, I bet my co-worker's lawyer will move for the dismissal of the results and get him back in the diversion program.
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Link Posted: 11/15/2010 12:38:44 PM EST
If a cop says they work, they work. dont question it.
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Link Posted: 11/15/2010 12:41:53 PM EST
I have passed one by sucking instead of blowing, cop wasn't paying much attention. I figure worst case he would say blow again, but it worked blew .001, and I had been drinking. At home test sound even dumber. Balloons filled with air, other people, vacuum cleaner on the opposite side, canned air, etc.
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Link Posted: 11/15/2010 12:45:18 PM EST
1. it is not your problem unless the co-worker is you.

2.of course, anything mechanical can fail.

3. your "friend"/"co-worker" has a choice. a. rely upon the monitoring company to check the calibration; b. hire a different company to check the calibration. However, you probably already knew this, right?

4. sure, things can affect a reading.

Example, my client was arrested for passing the California Highway Patrol at a legal speed of 65 mph. Now that you are all stoked up, you haven't asked where he way when he passed the CHP. He was on the ivy covered bank on the side of the freeway hurrying to the offramp.

He pled not guilty on account of his breath reading was a result of his drinking mouthwash (hint, I had just brushed my teeth and was going to bed).

Of course, I warned the bailiff that if my client showed up for delayed sentencing, he would be late and call for the butterfly net. He showed up 1 hour late. Instead of calling for the butterfly net, 6 deputies showed up. As the sentencing was done, the guy was handcuffed to the bar and the prosecutor and I had our hands on the doors to the courtroom ready to run out.



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Link Posted: 11/15/2010 1:01:03 PM EST
They have to be calibrated and cleaned at scheduled intervals.
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Link Posted: 11/15/2010 1:05:52 PM EST

Originally Posted By bdcochran01:
1. it is not your problem unless the co-worker is you.

2.of course, anything mechanical can fail.

3. your "friend"/"co-worker" has a choice. a. rely upon the monitoring company to check the calibration; b. hire a different company to check the calibration. However, you probably already knew this, right?

4. sure, things can affect a reading.

Example, my client was arrested for passing the California Highway Patrol at a legal speed of 65 mph. Now that you are all stoked up, you haven't asked where he way when he passed the CHP. He was on the ivy covered bank on the side of the freeway hurrying to the offramp.

He pled not guilty on account of his breath reading was a result of his drinking mouthwash (hint, I had just brushed my teeth and was going to bed).

Of course, I warned the bailiff that if my client showed up for delayed sentencing, he would be late and call for the butterfly net. He showed up 1 hour late. Instead of calling for the butterfly net, 6 deputies showed up. As the sentencing was done, the guy was handcuffed to the bar and the prosecutor and I had our hands on the doors to the courtroom ready to run out.


wait, you are a lawyer and cant afford a team membership?

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Link Posted: 11/15/2010 1:44:13 PM EST

Originally Posted By Mullah_Atari:

Originally Posted By tc556guy:
First of all, a "Breathalyzer" is a brand name piece of equipment thats no longer in service.

He has some sort of breath testing aparatus, but its not a Breathalyzer.

It's called "colloquialism." It's the way normal people speak when they aren't writing essays or filling out forms.


What makes his post even more laughable is that while being a Grammar Nazi over the brand name issue he enumerates his points ('first of all') but has only one point.


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Link Posted: 11/15/2010 1:45:18 PM EST
Originally Posted By Harlikwin:
Anyhow, my advice to anyone who is ever "offered" a roadside sobriety test, don't take the breath test, make em take you in and get the blood test.


If you (or I choose) a blood test you are going to jail for some amount of time - period. If you choose breath and the results are below .08 BAC there is a very high likelihood you will be released w/o charges and I'll drive you back to your car.

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Link Posted: 11/15/2010 1:45:23 PM EST
Originally Posted By bonnevillain:
wait, you are a lawyer and cant afford a team membership?



This attitude pisses me off to no end. Not everyone wants to buy a membership. It is not a matter of not being able to afford it.

Being a non-team member is perfectly fine.
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Link Posted: 11/15/2010 1:46:42 PM EST
Originally Posted By bonnevillain:
wait, you are a lawyer and cant afford a team membership?



There are many lawyers who are not partners in some big swanky firm and actually make very little income.
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Link Posted: 11/15/2010 1:48:23 PM EST
[Last Edit: 11/15/2010 2:08:07 PM EST by Ellery_Holt]







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Link Posted: 11/15/2010 1:48:29 PM EST
Originally Posted By bonnevillain:
If a cop says they work, they work. dont question it.


1st reply nailed it..........

I'm a mechanical engineer by education/profession before turning to LE - I know shit breaks and/or doesn't work as designed sometimes. That said, I also know my experience doing the weekly self-check and that the vast majority of folks I've stopped for DUI or PI claim they haven't had anything to drink............

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Link Posted: 11/15/2010 1:49:42 PM EST
Originally Posted By Ellery_Holt:

What makes his post even more laughable is that while being a Grammar Nazi over the brand name issue he enumerates his points ('first of all') but has only one point.



What was "laughable" about my post. Nothing. Its not being a "grammar Nazi", I was simply stating a fact that the cited equipment name that people keep throwing out there is incorrect. If you're going to ask about the technical failings of a Breathalyzer specifically, then do so. Don't expect people to compare the shortcomings of an outdated piece of gear with some other unknown but currently fielded piece of equipment.
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Link Posted: 11/15/2010 1:50:45 PM EST
Originally Posted By bonnevillain:

Originally Posted By bdcochran01:
1. it is not your problem unless the co-worker is you.

2.of course, anything mechanical can fail.

3. your "friend"/"co-worker" has a choice. a. rely upon the monitoring company to check the calibration; b. hire a different company to check the calibration. However, you probably already knew this, right?

4. sure, things can affect a reading.

Example, my client was arrested for passing the California Highway Patrol at a legal speed of 65 mph. Now that you are all stoked up, you haven't asked where he way when he passed the CHP. He was on the ivy covered bank on the side of the freeway hurrying to the offramp.

He pled not guilty on account of his breath reading was a result of his drinking mouthwash (hint, I had just brushed my teeth and was going to bed).

Of course, I warned the bailiff that if my client showed up for delayed sentencing, he would be late and call for the butterfly net. He showed up 1 hour late. Instead of calling for the butterfly net, 6 deputies showed up. As the sentencing was done, the guy was handcuffed to the bar and the prosecutor and I had our hands on the doors to the courtroom ready to run out.


wait, you are a lawyer and cant afford a team membership?



That whole free market thing rears it's ugly head........... Some of you folks sound like union members trying to shame people into joining the union.

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Link Posted: 11/15/2010 1:56:06 PM EST
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Link Posted: 11/15/2010 2:48:08 PM EST
A healthy liver can only elimate about .015% BAC per hour.

It is a BS statement that few people can get a .000%.


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Link Posted: 11/15/2010 2:51:44 PM EST
Originally Posted By Mullah_Atari:

Originally Posted By tc556guy:
First of all, a "Breathalyzer" is a brand name piece of equipment thats no longer in service.

He has some sort of breath testing aparatus, but its not a Breathalyzer.

It's called "colloquialism." It's the way normal people speak when they aren't writing essays or filling out forms.


maybe you could offer him a Kleenex...oh, wait....tissue...

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Link Posted: 11/15/2010 3:28:42 PM EST
Originally Posted By 308hotbrass:
If it is man made it can and will break.


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Link Posted: 11/16/2010 1:53:41 AM EST
Originally Posted By KentuckyGunGuy:
I have passed one by sucking instead of blowing, cop wasn't paying much attention. I figure worst case he would say blow again, but it worked blew .001, and I had been drinking. At home test sound even dumber. Balloons filled with air, other people, vacuum cleaner on the opposite side, canned air, etc.


It takes your picure while you're taking the test.
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Link Posted: 11/16/2010 2:25:58 AM EST
its a piece of machinery so yea they can malfunctions. That said they have a shit ton of built in safeguards to prevent that. Like ours in Michigan if one test (it requires atleast 2 blows) is to high or too low compared to the previous one it rejects the test, if you leave your radio on near the breath test it will reject any test based on RF interferance Possibly causing an error and so on.

Ours is also calibrated every other week.

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Link Posted: 11/16/2010 2:28:21 AM EST
Originally Posted By ceverett:
Originally Posted By JellyBelly:
I have a co-worker who is in a diversion program for a 3rd offense drunk driving arrest. If convicted it'll be a felony.

He is not drinking. Having grown up around alcoholics I've seen the change and believe 100% that he's sober. Once the legal issues go away he's interested in a live of sobriety. He's "seen the light" and changed from within. While I don't support what he did to be in trouble in the first place, I would hate to see him get kicked out of a program that's doing him some real good over an issue that's not his fault.

As a condition of his probation while in the diversion program, he has an at-home breathalyzer which goes off randomly during the evening hours (it's gone off at 4am before). he MUST blow .000 to stay in the program or he'll be kicked out and the felony charges will be pressed.

He had a bad blow. Over the course of 19 minutes he blew .025, then .001, then .000. It's my understanding that going from .025 to .000 in 19 minutes is impossible, especially for the metabolism of a 49 year old.

He wasn't drinking. The machine goofed. Now we need to figure out how.

There's going to be a subpoena on the machine and monitoring company (it's operated by a privately owned company) to find out what's going on inside the machine.

Does anyone know how a breathalyzer could give a false reading in such a way? Could there have been something in his environment (on his hands?) that could have altered the results?


.000 is going to be damn hard to achieve for anyone, ever. There is some alcohol content in the blood of even non-drinkers. While Falling from .025 to .000 in 19 minutes seems unlikely to me, the premise of a program requiring .000 seems... fishy.


been a cop for 15 years and have seen probably 500 .000 in my craeer. included giving PBT's to probationers and seeing them blow .000 day in and day out.

J-

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Link Posted: 11/16/2010 2:50:55 AM EST
Mouth wash.

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Link Posted: 11/16/2010 3:08:30 AM EST
I don't know much about breath testers but once when I was tested I blew a .002 when I had not had a drink in more than a year, so I know they can be wrong.
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Link Posted: 11/16/2010 4:10:19 AM EST
Is your friend diabetic?

Ketoacidosis or a hypoglycemic condition can mess up the test.
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Link Posted: 11/16/2010 4:12:54 AM EST
Originally Posted By jjc155:
Originally Posted By ceverett:
Originally Posted By JellyBelly:
I have a co-worker who is in a diversion program for a 3rd offense drunk driving arrest. If convicted it'll be a felony.

He is not drinking. Having grown up around alcoholics I've seen the change and believe 100% that he's sober. Once the legal issues go away he's interested in a live of sobriety. He's "seen the light" and changed from within. While I don't support what he did to be in trouble in the first place, I would hate to see him get kicked out of a program that's doing him some real good over an issue that's not his fault.

As a condition of his probation while in the diversion program, he has an at-home breathalyzer which goes off randomly during the evening hours (it's gone off at 4am before). he MUST blow .000 to stay in the program or he'll be kicked out and the felony charges will be pressed.

He had a bad blow. Over the course of 19 minutes he blew .025, then .001, then .000. It's my understanding that going from .025 to .000 in 19 minutes is impossible, especially for the metabolism of a 49 year old.

He wasn't drinking. The machine goofed. Now we need to figure out how.

There's going to be a subpoena on the machine and monitoring company (it's operated by a privately owned company) to find out what's going on inside the machine.

Does anyone know how a breathalyzer could give a false reading in such a way? Could there have been something in his environment (on his hands?) that could have altered the results?


.000 is going to be damn hard to achieve for anyone, ever. There is some alcohol content in the blood of even non-drinkers. While Falling from .025 to .000 in 19 minutes seems unlikely to me, the premise of a program requiring .000 seems... fishy.


been a cop for 15 years and have seen probably 500 .000 in my craeer. included giving PBT's to probationers and seeing them blow .000 day in and day out.

J-



I've only taken a breath test once, and I blew .000.
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Link Posted: 11/16/2010 4:14:36 AM EST
[Last Edit: 11/16/2010 4:15:16 AM EST by HoodyHoo21]
Did he use mouthwash?
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Link Posted: 11/16/2010 4:17:11 AM EST

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Link Posted: 11/16/2010 4:20:10 AM EST

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Link Posted: 11/16/2010 4:24:34 AM EST
Was he drunk when he calibrated it?

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Link Posted: 11/16/2010 4:37:43 AM EST
[Last Edit: 11/16/2010 4:38:52 AM EST by Hueto]
I used to be certified in ignition interlocks for Draeger and ACS. Yes, they do malfunction, and it didn't always correlate to lack of calibration (every 60 days). We usually saw random numbers, either high or low. Usually, if there was no numeric correlation (ie- Not degradation or increase over time), and it could be proved that it was the same person blowing each time, it could be dismissed. For example, if someone blew mouthwash into the unit, but tested at zero five minutes later, it would be dropped.

I don't think home units are evidentiary anyways. In general, a BAC will drop about .030 an hour. If you're outside of that range, then it would probably be pretty easy to excuse. I was brought to court many times to prove or disprove results. Either way, have your budy go down for a piss test now.

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Link Posted: 11/16/2010 4:38:39 AM EST

Originally Posted By Justa_TXguy:
Originally Posted By JellyBelly:
He had a bad blow. Over the course of 19 minutes he blew .025, then .001, then .000. It's my understanding that going from .025 to .000 in 19 minutes is impossible, especially for the metabolism of a 49 year old.


I don't know anything about the machine itself, but it is physiologically impossible to go from a BAC of 0.25 to 0.00 in 19 minutes. Impossible for anyone.

You dropped a zero there. BIG difference between .025 and .25 BAC.

Not that anyone is going from .025 to .000 in 20 mins either.
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