Is It Better To Take A Breath Or Blood Test For A Houston DUI?
A police officer is permitted to request that you take a portable breath test if they suspect that you have been driving under the influence of alcohol. You are not required to submit to this test and can refuse. However, if you refuse, there are consequences and if you are arrested, you will be required to take a chemical or blood test.
Is it better to take a breath or blood test for a DUI? There are a number of factors that you should take into account:
Accuracy – Is A Breath Or Blood Test More Accurate?
If you are absolutely certain that you have not been drinking or that your BAC (Blood Alcohol Concentration) is below the legal limit, then it may be acceptable to refuse a breath test and ask for a blood test instead. Blood tests are far more accurate.
Breath tests have a large margin for error. They also take into account other factors such as mouthwash that contains alcohol. Some products, such as energy drinks that contain no alcohol, can also provide a false reading.
However, if you are not 100% sure that your BAC is below the legal limit, then it is better to opt for the breath test. This will allow an attorney to challenge the results of the tests and therefore the DUI charge relative to the inaccuracy of breathalyzer tests.
To give you a better idea of whether your BAC may exceed the limit, be aware of how much you are drinking over a period of time. The BAC of the average male increases by between 0.02 and 0.03% for every drink they consume per hour. This rate is slightly higher for women. Before getting behind the wheel of the car, it is advisable to use an app to calculate your BAC.
Alcohol & Other Substances
A breathalyzer test is only designed to detect the presence of alcohol and cannot detect other substances like drugs. A blood test on the other hand will detect all types of substances that result in impaired driving.
This includes prescription medications. Even if you have not consumed a sufficient amount of the drug or medication to impair your driving, a blood test will show evidence of the substance and this can be used against you in a DUI hearing. If you have taken any type of drug, it is best to opt for a breathalyzer test and avoid submitting to a blood test if possible.
Sooner Rather Than Later
There is a common misconception that delaying a breath or blood test will result in a lower reading. This is however not always the case. Alcohol absorption rises in the two hours directly after drinking resulting in higher BAC results. The results will only begin to fall after this two hour period.
If you are driving when your absorption levels are dropping, a blood alcohol test may work in your favor and provide a lower result by the time it is administered. An officer will probably need to drive you to a facility where the blood test can be legally administered by a qualified person. The delay could be sufficient to let your BAC fall below the legal limit.
A breath test that is administered on the spot can however result in a much higher BAC reading if you have entered the increased absorption rate phase after drinking, even if you don’t feel impaired in any way.