Breath Test Versus Blood Test
If you find yourself in Georgia with the unfortunate dilemma of thinking about a Breath Test versus a Blood Test in a DUI (Driving Under the Influence) stop, you’ll probably be pretty worried. Even if you’ve never had a drink of alcohol in your life, you’re most likely familiar with the term “breath test” for determining the level of alcohol in a person’s body. You may also know that blood tests can be used to find that information, as well.
First a quick biology lesson: when consumed, alcohol takes a trip through the esophagus down to the stomach and small intestine, at which point the alcohol enters the bloodstream and makes its way through the rest of your body. Eventually, it reaches the lungs, at which point it gets expelled in very small amounts whenever a person breathes out.
Now, depending on your actions and decisions made after consuming alcohol, you may attract the attention of Georgia law enforcement. Being suspected of driving under the influence or a DUI may lead to either a breath test or a blood test to determine your blood alcohol levels.
Breath tests involve the use of breath testing devicesalso referred to as a breathalyzer to measure the amount of alcohol in a person’s bloodstream. The device works a little like a thermometer: the person breathes into a tube and the device can produce immediate readouts of the person’s blood-alcohol level.
However, this instrument can be negatively affected by environmental situations and produce false-positive results based on special factors. If the person being tested recently ate something cooked with alcohol, the breathalyzer can detect the alcohol in their breath and produce a positive test. Likewise, if the person used mouth wash or has denture adhesive present in their mouth that can also affect the test result. Certain legal medications may contain menthol or alcohol and may create false positives on a breath test for actual alcohol.
If a breath test results in positive for being over the limit, which is a .08 for Georgia drivers 21 and over, .04 for commercial vehicle drivers, and .02 for drivers under the age of 21, you will be charged in Georgia with a DUI per se.
Blood tests work by measuring the amount of alcohol in a blood sample taken from the individual in question. Because the test takes a direct measurement from the blood rather than any amounts expelled by exhalation, the tests tend to be more accurate.
However, the care that has to be taken when taking a blood sample makes it harder to conduct such tests in the field. It can be dangerous to try and get a blood sample from an uncooperative person.
It’s also possible that both tests can be administered in a single DUI situation. An officer on-site may conduct a breath test, and if the suspect must be taken into custody, a blood test can be taken at the police station or in the hospital, depending on the situation. While blood tests are usually considered to be more accurate than breath analysis to show a person’s blood alcohol content, they are not 100% accurate all the time.