Types of Breathalyzers & Arizona DUI Cases

A person can be arrested for driving under the influence of a variety of mood-altering substances, but DUI is usually associated with Driving Under the Influence of alcohol. Alcohol is a common part of our culture and drinking a little in one drink or less- bit isn’t a bad thing, nor is it something that can significantly affect driving. That’s why the police need equipment to help determine how much alcohol is in a person’s system if they are pulled over for suspicion of drunk driving. A breathalyzer is a device the police will use to determine a driver’s blood alcohol content or BAC. A breathalyzer reading can be crucial in all aspects of a DUI, from whether the driver is arrested in the first place through their sentencing if convicted. Read on to learn more about breathalyzer devices and how they impact DUI cases in Arizona. If you’ve been charged with DUI and are seeking experienced legal counsel for your case, call 602-661-0988 for your free consultation with our firm.

A personal breathalyzer lies in front of two shot glasses with pickles on a wooden surface.

Different Types of Breathalyzers

The first breathalyzer was invented by Robert Frank Borkenstein in 1953, a descendant of his earlier invention, the Drunkometer. There have been several advancements in breath testing technology, which has resulted in several different types of breathalyzers being on the market. A breathalyzer device must meet certain requirements for its results to be admissible in a court of law. These requirements are set forth by the National Highway Traffic & Safety Administration or NHTSA. An NHTSA-approved breathalyzer device must provide its results in triplicate or provide three identical copies per test. This printout should also include a case number that can be read before administering the breathalyzer test. The test results also need to include the breathalyzer test machine’s serial number and manufacturer’s name, as well as the time that the test was conducted. A breathalyzer must be able to test an air blank and differentiate between a .02 BAC reading and acetone. It also must be capable of an external calibration check. 

As previously mentioned, there are various types of breathalyzer tests available that meet the NHTSA’s standards. Certain models have had improvements made to them, even though the prior models still meet the NHTSA standards. Some of them include:

  • Intoxilyzer 5000
  • Intoxilyzer 8000
  • Intoxilyzer 9000
  • Intox EC/IR
  • Draeger 7110 
  • Draeger 9510
  • DataMaster CDM
  • DataMaster DMT

Arizona’s police officers use the Intoxilyzer 8000 to determine if a driver is under the influence of alcohol. It’s also worth noting that an ignition interlock device, or IID, is a breathalyzer test that will become relevant if a defendant convicted of DUI wishes to regain their driving privileges. Defendants convicted of DUI in Arizona can be ordered to keep an IID installed in their vehicle for one year or longer. The driver will need to blow into their IID each time they wish to start their vehicle while it is installed. The driver may also need to blow into the IID periodically to keep the vehicle running. An IID comes with installation fees, monthly fees, and other maintenance fees that can make driving enormously expensive after a DUI conviction. For more information, call 602-661-0988 to set up your free consultation with one of our experienced Arizona DUI Defenders

How a Breathalyzer Reading Affects Arizona DUI Charges

There are different categories of DUI charges based on the defendant’s BAC level at the time of the arrest. In Arizona, if a defendant is convicted of driving with a BAC of less than .08, this is considered a DUI-impaired to the slightest degree. In Arizona, a driver can be arrested based on the officer’s discretion if their BAC is .05-.08. A commercial driver can also be arrested for driving with a BAC of more than .04. 

Like many other states, the legal limit for a per se DUI in Arizona is .08. Once the driver’s BAC hits .15, it is considered an Extreme DUI in the state of Arizona. A BAC of .20 or higher will result in Super Extreme DUI charges. Note that these are all misdemeanor offenses- Arizona does not impose a felony penalty on DUI defendants for a high DUI. Felony charges are based on other factors like having a child passenger or having multiple prior DUI convictions. 

Just because a defendant arrested for driving with a BAC might not be charged with a felony doesn’t mean that they won’t face serious consequences. The penalties for a standard DUI include a minimum jail sentence of 10 days, at least $1,250 in fines, a driver’s license suspension of at least 90 days, a requirement to keep an IID installed for at least 1 year, traffic school, drug and alcohol screening and education, and community service. You can read more about the penalties for a standard DUI in Arizona in A.R.S. § 28-1381

Extreme DUI and its penalties are laid out by A.R.S. § 28-1382. The defendant’s potential jail sentence will increase from 10 to 30 days. An Extreme DUI defendant can expect to be fined at least $2,500 and will experience harsher penalties across the board as compared to a standard DUI conviction. A Super Extreme DUI conviction carries a minimum 45-day jail sentence, at least $2,750 in fines, and more. It can require skillful defense and persistent negotiation to reduce the harmful effects that these penalties can have on a defendant’s life. For all types of misdemeanor DUI convictions, you can expect the penalties also to become harsher if the defendant has prior convictions on their criminal record. If you have been charged with DUI in Arizona and have questions about the penalties you may face, don’t hesitate to contact our firm for your free consultation at 602-661-0988

Breathalyzer-Based Defenses

A breathalyzer test must be conducted appropriately for its results to be used as evidence against you in a DUI prosecution. The person conducting the breathalyzer test must have the proper license to do so in Arizona. The person must also wait 15 minutes before conducting the test to make sure the driver doesn’t eat, drink, puke, or do anything else that could tamper with the results. Results need to be stored and transferred appropriately and in compliance with Arizona law. If you suspect that your breathalyzer test wasn’t conducted correctly during your Arizona DUI arrest, contact our firm for your free consultation at 602-661-0988

Skilled Defenders for DUI Charges in Arizona

Arizona may be the strictest state in the nation when it comes to the conviction of defendants accused of driving under the influence. That’s why it’s important to seek legal counsel as soon as possible after your arrest. Don’t wait for evidence to disappear and memories to fade- contacting an attorney promptly will give you the most time to prepare your defense strategy. Let our team at Arizona Zero Down DUI determine your best course of action so that a DUI doesn’t throw your life into freefall. Our experienced criminal defense attorneys know when to negotiate a favorable plea bargain to achieve a defendant’s ideal outcome, and are prepared when a case needs to go all the way to trial. To get started with your free consultation contact us through our online form or call us at 602-661-0988.

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