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Columbia Breathalyzer Test

KENDRICK & LEONARD, P.C. > Columbia Breathalyzer Test

Why Should You Consent To Take A Breathalyzer Test In Columbia, SC?

At some point in your life, you might be stopped by the police while driving. Sometimes you may not be aware of a broken tail light. Or maybe you’ll roll through a stop sign. Depending on the situation, the police may suspect you’re drunk or impaired in some way.  However, he will need to prove his suspicion before arresting you. The most common way to prove you’re driving drunk is with a breathalyzer test.

The police will administer the breathalyzer test on location. It uses a device that measures your blood-alcohol consentration (BAC). This test is a fairly reliable way to tell if someone has elevated BAC. When you take the breathalyzer test, you’ll be asked to blow into a device. DUI laws state that your BAC should be lower than .08% when driving. If you are over the limit, the police will arrest you.

You may think opting out of the test is a good idea. But there are serious legal consequences to opting out. As a result, it is best to cooperate with the police. If you’re arrested for DUI, the important thing is to contact your DUI lawyer. Doing this allows them to get to the police station and begin work on your case. With qualified legal help on your side, you’re going to be fine.


South Carolina Implied Consent Law

The SC law states all drivers automatically agree to a breathalyzer or chemical test. A qualified police officer will perform the test on suspected DUI drivers to determine their BAC. Refusing to take any of these tests has legal consequences for the driver.

If the person can’t take the test due to being injured, unconscious, or dead, different rules apply. A blood test will be done to determine the person’s BAC.

There are different BAC requirements for different motorists:

  • An adult driver of 21 years and above must have a BAC of less than .08%.
  • Commercial vehicle drivers must have BAC of less than .04%.
  • Any driver that is under the age of 21 years is considered an underage drinker. They only need a BAC of .02 to be arrested.

There may be times that the breathalyzer test results may be low but you still get arrested. This may happen if the police officer observes traits that would suggest intoxication. As a result, they will conduct a chemical test to prove their suspicion.


Roadside Breathalyzer Tests in Columbia, SC

The breathalyzer test is a simple and usually accurate way of measuring BAC. If a police officer asks you to take the test, you are legally required to do so. However, you can still refuse. This is why a police officer is required to read you your rights. They have to inform you of your rights and the consequences if you refuse a test. These rights include the following:

  • You are required in South Carolina to take the breathalyzer test if requested by a police officer. A urine and blood test are also mandatory if needed.
  • You have the right to refuse to take the test. If you do so, your driver’s license will be suspended immediately.
  • Refusing to take the breathalyzer test can and will be used against you in a court of law.
  • You have the right to submit a request to court challenging your license suspension. The administrative request must be made within 30 days of the suspension.

If you don’t request an administrative hearing, the suspension is upheld.  You will have to enroll in a program for Alcohol and Drug Safety Action. If you’re arrested for a high BAC, call your DUI attorney right away. This will help your legal counsel advise you on your options.  Then they will work to prepare a suitable defense for you. They’ll review your information and find out more about the charges against you. They’ll determine what the best next steps are to defend you well in court.


Pros and Cons of Refusing To Take a Breathalyzer Test

The law allows you to refuse to take the breathalyzer test as long as you understand the penalties. Even with these penalties, there are some advantages to refusing a breathalyzer test. It’s important to understand both sides of the argument. This will help you make a more informed decision.


  • The state won’t have BAC results to use against you in court. Because of this you may end up with a lower sentence. Or you may have the case dismissed altogether.
  • You may avoid getting as heavy a sentence. If you had a lot to drink, refusing the test prevents your actual BAC being known.


  • A refusal means an automatic suspension of your driver’s license. The length of time depends on how many offenses are on your record. After a fourth offense, you can have your license permanently suspended.
  • The state may use your refusal to argue you knew that you were intoxicated. If this happens, you may get a heftier sentence.


Why Your DUI Lawyer Will Advise You to Take the Breathalyzer Test

Even if you have been drinking, it is better to accept the breathalyzer test. What happens after being arrested is pretty predictable. You will be booked and processed in the police station. You’ll be given an additional test to confirm BAC results. It’s not fun, but you’ll be okay. With an experienced DUI lawyer, you’ll have your rights protected.

  • You can dispute the test results in court. Your lawyer will help you challenge the results. With a strong defense, you could get an innocent verdict.
  • As a first offender, your sentence may only be a $400 fine. This is a lot better than refusing and facing worse penalties.
  • You won’t have your license suspended unless it is a repeat offense. If you’ve had DUI charges in the last decade, you may lose your license.

As your DUI attorney will tell you, it’s best to cooperate with the police. This should work to your advantage in Columbia, SC. However, do not consent to a vehicle search without a warrant and field test. These may only give the state more evidence to convict you.


How Reliable Are Breathalyzer Tests?

Breathalyzer tests have existed for a long time. The technology has undergone some improvements over the years. However, results are not 100% accurate.  There are ways the data can be flawed. Factors outside your control can affect test results. This is why a chemical test will be administered to confirm the results.

Despite this, the breathalyzer test results are admissible in court. This means your results can be enough to get you sentenced. With a great lawyer, it’s possible to dispute breathalyzer test results. However, only do this if you feel certain that the results were wrong. If you pursue a dispute without a clear case, you may end up looking even more guilty.


False Positive Breathalyzer Tests

Since the breathalyzer test measures breath alcohol content, false positives can occur. It may show high alcohol content even if you haven’t been drinking. Some mouthwashes have a high amount of alcohol in them. They linger in someone’s breath for an extended time. Breathalyzer tests may read positive for someone taking cough syrup containing alcohol.

People with diabetes may also have a high BAC. This can be due to the internal production of high amounts of acetone. If the police arrested you but you weren’t drinking, you can dispute the results. DUI attorneys can help get the case dismissed.

It is very important that the breathalyzer is calibrated right. This helps prevent errors. Poor calibration can lead to an incorrectly high reading. If this happens to you; you can challenge the results. Sometimes, the police officer may not administer the test correctly. This can also lead to a wrong conclusion. Inform your DUI attorney if you think this has happened. They can help find proof that the results were incorrect.

Other points that may help you in disputing a test result:

  • The police officer giving the test needs to be licensed to do so. If he isn’t, it’s possible to argue that results weren’t accurate.
  • The police officer needs to give at least two readings from the breathalyzer. These readings should be within .02% of each other. If this doesn’t happen, it means that the device isn’t calibrated correctly.
  • The breathalyzer must be of a type accepted by the state.


Why Do You Need to Consult DUI Attorneys Right Away if You’re Arrested?

The earlier you get DUI attorneys involved, the better your chances are. Waiting too long after a breathalyzer test will impact your case.  It’s best to involve a DUI lawyer right away if you’re facing DUI arrest. Talk to us at Kendrick and Leonard to discuss your charges. We’ll give your our best advice for your situation. We have enough experience from past cases to know what we are getting into. We’ll defend your right and do our best to help you with your case. Contact us today!

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