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Birmingham DUI defense Lawyer: Will a High Breathalyzer Reading result in an Alabama Drunk Driving Conviction?

Posted by Steven Eversole | Jan 20, 2010 | 0 Comments

Let's say you got pulled over last week for drunk driving in the Huntsville area. Having a suspicion that you might be impaired, the officer asks you to take several field sobriety tests. If you failed, there's a good chance that your next stop would be the local police department for a breathalyzer test. As a Birmingham DUI defense attorney, I know that being convicted for driving under the influence of alcohol can impact a person's life for a long time to come.

Assuming you blew a 0.08 percent blood-alcohol reading on the department's breathalyzer, you may think that you have no option but to plead guilty in front of a judge, however you would be wrong. Whether a motorist is arrested for DUI in Birmingham, Mongomery, Tuscaloosa or down in Mobile or Dothan, you have the same real option: contacting a qualified drunk driving defense lawyer.

For anyone stopped for DUI in Alabama's and issued a summons for driving while intoxicated, the question you should ask yourself is were you truly drunk? Perhaps you had something to drink, but was a charge of drunk driving really warranted? Maybe yes and maybe no. Just like other aspects of the law, not every DUI arrest is completely cut and dried.

Many clients I have represented felt that they were unjustly accused. While some may have broken the law, they also understand the often severe consequences of a DUI conviction. If you want to improve your outcome in court, don't automatically assume that you “have it coming.” That's simply the wrong way to think about this kind of situation.

Something that really makes people believe the authorities have a strong case against them is the results of a breath test. You should understand that blowing a reading over the legal limit (that is, more than 0.08 percent blood-alcohol content or BAC) does not automatically mean you can or will be convicted of a DUI charge. Do not feel you are “out of luck” because the breathalyzer registered a high BAC.

There are several factors that affect your BAC, and there are also a number of other things that can influence the final breathalyzer reading. Every experienced drunk driving defense lawyer should know the how a breathalyzer functions, how it should be maintained and how a police office should use it to measure a driver's BAC.


For instance, many people don't realize that a breath-testing machine can often mistake other chemicals for alcohol. Also, burping, hiccupping or vomiting can cause the device to have an incorrect BAC reading. The reason is that a breathalyzer is designed to measure the amount of alcohol coming from your lungs. If you burp, hiccup or vomit prior to the test, any alcohol in your stomach can travel to your mouth, something called “mouth alcohol,” which can then cause the machine to return a distorted BAC reading.

This is just one example of why you should always consult an experienced DUI defense lawyer if you are charged with drunk driving. The consequences can be very harsh, and certainly serious enough to merit fighting for your day in court.

About the Author

Steven Eversole

J.D., Samford University's Cumberland School of Law, Birmingham, Alabama B.A., University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama

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