January 15, 2016
Blood or Breath Test
Should I take a blood or breath test?

During a DUI stop, a police officer will likely ask you to take a portable breath test. The best thing to do is to refuse this test, but if you are placed under arrest, you are required to submit to chemical tests under California’s “implied consent” law.

So you’re placed under arrest and you have to take a blood or breath test. Which one should you take?

What is More Accurate: Blood Tests or Breath Tests?

Whether you should request a blood or breath test depends upon many factors. Generally speaking, if you strongly feel that you are under the legal blood-alcohol content limit of .08%, you will want to choose a blood test because it is more accurate.

Breath tests have a larger margin for error. They can be skewed by mouthwash or other products that contain alcohol. Even certain non-alcoholic products like energy drinks can falsely create higher BAC test results.¹ If you think that you may be below the legal BAC level but aren’t quite sure, you may want to opt for a breath test. Your attorney can more easily challenge the accuracy of Breathalyzer test results because of their tendency to be inaccurate.

In any case, it is best to be aware of how much you drink. For an average male, each drink you consume raises your BAC about .02 to .03 percent per hour. For women, it will rise at a slightly higher rate. Before driving, it would be wise to use phone apps to calculate your BAC.

Have You Been Drinking?

Breathalyzers test for the presence of alcohol in your system, and only for alcohol. If you’ve taken any kind of drugs, a breath test will not detect this. However, a blood test will show results for drugs, including prescription medications.

Even if you think you did not take enough drugs to impair your driving ability, a blood test could detect these drugs and the results could be used as evidence against you. If you’ve taken any kind of drugs, it may be best to avoid a blood test and have officers administer a Breathalyzer test instead.

Time is of the Essence

When it comes to calculating BAC, timing is everything. The absorption of alcohol actually continues to rise for up to two hours after your last drink before your BAC starts to fall.²

If you’re driving while your BAC is in the falling phase, the blood test might work to your advantage depending on the time of your last drink and your location. For example, it may take a while for the officer to transport you to a facility where your blood can be drawn. That delay could be enough to allow your BAC level to fall below the legal limit.

Meanwhile, a breath test can often be administered on the spot. If your BAC level is rising despite the fact that you felt unimpaired, this could produce higher Breathalyzer test results.

Call the DUI Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich

If you or a loved one has been charged with DUI, you need to contact an experienced DUI defense attorney at Wallin & Klarich. Our skilled attorneys have been successfully defending clients facing DUI charges for over 30 years. We’ve helped thousands of clients in their time of legal need, and we can help you now.

With offices located in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Orange County, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich criminal defense attorney available to help you no matter where you work or live.

Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.


¹ http://www.massbar.org/publications/lawyers-journal/2010/july/violating-the-alcohol-free-probation-requirement
² http://forcon.ca/learning/alcohol.html

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Author: Matthew Wallin

Matthew B. Wallin is an experienced and knowledgeable attorney at Wallin & Klarich. He approaches each case as an opportunity to help an individual at a time when they need it most and understands that he is the one they have turned to for help.   Mr. Wallin has represented hundreds of our clients in cases involving DUI and DMV hearings, domestic violence, assault and battery, drug crimes, misdemeanors and serious felonies. With extensive experience handling DUI cases, Mr. Wallin is one of the premiere DUI defense attorney in Southern California.

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